domingo, 31 de mayo de 2009
Gladys Knight & the Pips: Silk N' Soul / The Nitty Gritty (1968 / 1969)
26-track digitally remastered 2-on-1 set comprised of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ Silk N’ Soul album, plus their 4th LP The Nitty Gritty, showcasing how Gladys could take both soul and pop songs and make them her own. Silk N’ Soul was released in 1968 as an album of remakes and managed to chart (#136) on Billboard's Pop Album Chart. It contains their bold reinterpretations of 'I Wish It Would Rain' (the only single of the album), 'Baby I Need Your Loving', 'Every Little Bit Hurts' and 'The Tracks of My Tears' amongst others. The group's soulful renditions of pop hits like ‘The Look of Love’ and ‘Theme from Valley of the Dolls’ are also enjoyable. As for Nitty Gritty (1969), it spawned one of the group’s greatest moments with the funky title cut and their renditions of several Whitfield/Strong compositions also recorded by the Temptations, like ‘Cloud Nine,’ ‘It's Summer,’ and ‘(I Know) I'm Losing You’. There are two Ashford & Simpson songs, ‘Didn't You Know (You'd Have to Cry Sometime)’ and ‘Keep an Eye,’ also turned up on other Motown releases. The title track, a successful single, throws together a James Brown syncopated groove, Family Stone horns and gaga guitar distortion, with minimal melody or lyrics. There's also a cut repeated from an earlier Pips record, ‘Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone’ plus two bonus tracks, the hit single ‘Friendship Train’ and ‘Billy, Come on Back as Quick as You Can.’ All in all, there are no failed experiments here: every track succeeds and Knight's voice adds urgency throughout. Besides, the Ashford & Simpson numbers are marvelous, and Harvey Fuqua's ‘All I Could Do’ and Ivy Hunter's ‘The Stranger’ are fine mid-‘60s soul. Thanks to top-shelf production, Gladys gets a sound that's ultra-hip, a bit deeper soul at times, but also with some of the more righteous overtones that Whitfield was bringing to other Motown acts at the time - a more pronounced sense of rhythm that foreshadowed the raw soul which would become the common language of R&B in the '70s. http://www.warr.org/, http://www.dustygroove.com/, http://www.allmusic.com/. Thanks again, Martin, for this one!
Gladys Knight & the Pips's funky 'Nitty Gritty':
Performing 'The Friendship Train' on BBC television, 1972: