Monday, 9 February 2009

The Originals - California Sunset - 1975 - Motown

The Originals are one of Motown's most overlooked male vocal groups of both the 60s and 70s. Pity, as I think that Freddie Gorman was a phenomenal talent. In fact, I have always said all along that Freddie is one of my all-time favourite male vocalists. A true singer with real clout and authority. Rough, tough and equally passionate in good measure, the rest of the group work together so closely, so close in fact that Marvin Gaye thought they were related! Praise indeed. A shame that we recently lost Freddie, but what a legacy he left behind on albums such as this! If you read my review of Ben E. King's "Let Me Live In Your Life" album, then I constantly return to this album as many of the cuts on there can be found in their original form here on this sublime Motown album from 1975. I am a HUGE lover of Motown, and you'll find on here my all-time favourite Motown song!

Every track comes out trumps to be fair, some more than others though! "Why'd You Lie" with it's Wise, possibly cynical, monologue is just a perfect LP opener and the greatness of "Don't Turn The Lights Off" cannot be ignored. Lamont Dozier is on top of his game here in 1975, and proof positive can be found on the third track - and my all-time favourite - "I Could Never Happen". I can't put into words how this track makes me feel. Needless to say that Dozier has worked wonders, as usual, but surpasses himself on every level. This tale of the tables being turned on a Playa is simply excellent and the clever twist is that the song is sung from the perspective of the wounded playa. The sheer emotion intertwined in this song is simply awesome. The strings and woodwind are a killer, and as the lyrics go "it doesn't take to fool with love, not a force that strong, the suffering, the glory n' all, think twice before you do wrong". Top of the class. Dozier is a MASTER. A popular track is "Good Lovin' Is Just A Dime Away", reminiscent of Dozier's work on the Barrino Brothers in the early part of the decade. "Sweet Rhapsody", "Fifty Years" and "Let Me Live In Your Life" are blinding - as are Ben E. King's later versions. I prey that Motown or Universal Japan release this album on CD as it sure is deserving. A few of these songs are available of various "Originals" Best Of compilations and these also contain some great songs from the 60s too.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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