Monday, 9 February 2009

The Three Pieces - Vibes Of Truth - 1975 - Fantasy

If ever there was a standard-bearing album of the 1970s then “Vibes Of Truth” is a strong candidate. Released on the mighty fantasy label in 1975, this set was produced by none other than Donald Byrd, still very much in the artistic alliance with the superb Mizell Brothers, and was co-produced by Wade Marcus. The album was reissued on vinyl by BGP a few years ago, but was sensibly also reissued for a short time properly and legally on good old CD from master tapes by Victor in Japan a few years ago. The Three Pieces are made up of André Richardson, Lincoln Ross and Jerry Wilder and together they created a MASTERPIECE of soulful jazz-fusion. With The likes of Donald Byrd on board what else should we expect? Every track is worthy of investigation, both vocals and instrumentals, and is an album that really must be in your collection. Take a listen to the first song for example; the summery spangly guitar, the darting strings and sweet 70s soul harmonies are simply delicious; add the horns and keys and we’re in seventh soulful heaven! Yes, “I Need You Girl”, works from any angle you wish to cover it. The following killer is “Backed Up Against The wall”, a funky little number and no messing with the hi hat beats and funky keys. The lonely clarinet in the background adds a lonesome wistful feeling and the lead vocals are perfectly matched to the jogging beat and bubbling bassline.

The album initially drew me for 2 reasons, the first being the dreamy and unrepentantly righteous “Vibes Of Truth”. The strings are as sweet as you like and are working on two levels betwixt warm keys and unhurried, laid back, comfortable vocals. This is the mark of a classy singer, a classy song and they do not stop there. “Self Dealin’” really hits us with a Mizell-like production style at the start, and the righteous socially conscious lyrics are enough even to make james Brown proud! This has a feel of Gil Scott-Heron as well, so if you like these styles then this song is definitely your cup of tea! “Concrete Jungle” is also superb, the strings and sax and allows the trombone to let rip a la Fred Wesley stle! My favourite of favourites, and the second draw for me, is the SUPERB “If Only I Could Prove To You”. Possibly, this summery ballad is my top song from the 1970s, and its so easy to see where many UK groups got their cue from. But who needs imitations when we can have the real thing? This gets no more real than this, and should you need any more convincing, then “Cool It” and righteous “Virtue” should not fail to impress, both being rather much in the Leroy Hutson / Curtom bag of the time. Ok, this may be an expensive purchase on CD or vinyl BUT I have to say that it is worth every penny. You don't get albums like this everyday.

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe

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