Act – 1974 – Act 1

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Rip and research by Mr.Moo

Posting & additional info’s by Nikos

An obscure soul group, but a great one – equally at home with a fragile harmony tune as they were with more uptempo groovers for the dancefloor! This one and only album from Act One is a perfect illustration of the best two sides of the east coast indie soul scene of the early 70s – because some tunes are spare, simple, and heartbreaking – really building off the best qualities of 60s harmony soul, but with a lot more sophistication – while others are bolder, more upbeat, and positive – really using the new studio modes of the time to send a few tunes really over the top! The mix is quite similar to Black Ivory at their best – although the album’s more under-discovered treasure – and although it’s the only record ever by the group, it’s got a solidity that should have made them as big as any of the 70s stars on Atlantic or Philly International!

Tracks
A1
Party Hardy People 3.44
A2
I Don’t Want To Know What You Do To Me 2.58
A3
Still Water 5.06
A4
Goodbye Love (We’re Through) 2.13
A5
Friends Or Lover’s 3.18
B1
It’s The Same Old Story 3.07
B2
You Didn’t Love Me Anyhow 4.34
B3
Love’s Got Your Mind 2.34
B4
Dump ‘N From The Middle 3.29
B5
Tom The Peeper 2.18
B6
Do You Feel It 2.53

West Coast producer/writer Rafael Gerald, already renowned for producing and writing much of Millie Jackson‘s first three albums, hoped to strike gold again when he launched Act One in 1972 in Los Angeles. The core group included Reginald Ross, George Barker, and Roger Terry, session men Gerald had worked with in the past. Assembling as Act One, this slick, jamming band signed to Spring Records and recorded their eponymous debut for release in 1973.
Although the album itself never took off, it did unreel several minor hit singles. February 1973 brought the Top 30 R&B smash “Friends of Lovers“. Backed with “I Never Had a Love Like Yours,” the song hovered just out of the pop Top 100. July then saw the band score with another, markedly less-successful (number 90) summertime single, “Takes Two of Us”/”Whole Lotta Lovemaking“, before they dropped out of sight in the United States.
Although Act One may have disappeared in their homeland, 1974 brought them a brief revitalization in England when another single, “Tom the Peeper“,  was plucked off the album to become a monstrous Northern soul club hit and a minor national chart entry — the single debuted at number 40 on the U.K. pop charts for the week of May 18, 1974. The song did nothing stateside, however, and Act One disbanded not long after, leaving Gerald to move on to other production projects. He would come full circle in 1999, reuniting with Jackson on her Between the Sheets LP.

One of the greatest of all the so-called “lost” funk albums of the early to mid-’70s, Act One’s eponymous debut album stands as a testament to all the gritty majesty that Raeford Gerald would bring to his work with Millie Jackson — sharp production, slick instrumentation, and a driving, dirty punchiness that absolutely defines such titles as the vaguely punning “A Whole Lotta Lovemaking,” “Takes Two of Us,” and “Tom the Peeper.” It is that latter, of course, which brought Act One the most attention; a favorite on the British Northern soul circuit, from whence its renown spread to the U.S., it has since turned up on various genre compilations, drawing further fans and collectors into the search for this (admittedly hard-to-find) album. However, “Tom the Peeper”‘s ruthless horns and thunderous gyrations are only the tip of the iceberg, both musically and commercially — two further tracks from the album, “Friends and Lovers” and the aforementioned “Takes Two of Us,” hit the domestic R&B chart during 1973, while “Never Had a Love Like Yours” too, offers an unforgettable highlight. All of which means, record-buyers of the age can scarcely be forgiven for not drawing the album, too, into the commercial spotlight ( Amy Hanson, All Music Guide).

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30 Comments
  • rich
    Posted at 20:43h, 16 April 2012 Reply

    thank u mr. moo and nikos1

  • Bolton
    Posted at 10:27h, 17 April 2012 Reply

    Never heard it before. I can’t wait to check it out. thanks.

  • Gary
    Posted at 09:36h, 18 April 2012 Reply

    Brilliant rare LP. Thank you both.

  • Frankie Teardrop
    Posted at 11:25h, 18 April 2012 Reply

    I’d never heard of them either, but I’m really glad you guys provided! Seriously funky stuff!!! Thank you

  • Graham
    Posted at 18:58h, 18 April 2012 Reply

    Super funky. Keep it up guys.

  • Waren
    Posted at 08:53h, 19 April 2012 Reply

    I really wanna thank you for this joint right here. Another gem ive dreamed about hearing. true thanks.

  • Jake
    Posted at 09:28h, 19 April 2012 Reply

    Fine stuff. thanks for sharing.

  • Seth
    Posted at 13:03h, 19 April 2012 Reply

    Another killer discovery ! Top level digging fam.

  • Jerome
    Posted at 13:10h, 19 April 2012 Reply

    I love this blog. However, easybytez won’t load for me. Boo.

  • eddie
    Posted at 13:28h, 19 April 2012 Reply

    thanks!

  • Mick
    Posted at 08:25h, 20 April 2012 Reply

    Thank you for sharing this rarity!

  • Soulcity
    Posted at 08:28h, 20 April 2012 Reply

    Wow!! Amazing!! Much Thanks Mr.Moo.

  • eddie
    Posted at 09:36h, 20 April 2012 Reply

    Thanks

  • Gerald
    Posted at 20:53h, 20 April 2012 Reply

    Respect. Another perfect one.

  • SpOtY
    Posted at 22:02h, 20 April 2012 Reply

    This has been a real hit with me.

  • Ronald
    Posted at 14:07h, 21 April 2012 Reply

    Great post. Much love from Vienna.

  • Jimmy
    Posted at 19:28h, 21 April 2012 Reply

    Thanks for keep posting the gems.

  • Earl
    Posted at 12:33h, 22 April 2012 Reply

    My fav blog. Never disappoints.

  • Apollo
    Posted at 09:05h, 23 April 2012 Reply

    Hey thanks for your time and effort to get this amazing music out to us all.

  • Eddie
    Posted at 23:27h, 23 April 2012 Reply

    Thanks once again for some great songs!

  • Doctor OKeh
    Posted at 21:44h, 24 April 2012 Reply

    checkin this out now Nikos, TIA!

  • Adonis
    Posted at 11:41h, 29 April 2012 Reply

    Much love for this joint.

  • RanRan
    Posted at 17:43h, 02 May 2012 Reply

    Lovin their version of “Still Water”! Thanks for the upload!

  • bowlisha1
    Posted at 04:42h, 05 May 2012 Reply

    Tks so very much for yet another as you’ve called it under-discovered treasure. What a pleasant treat! I very much appreciated as always the background info. So interesting. Tks Nikos and Moo.

  • jerome green
    Posted at 05:40h, 25 May 2012 Reply

    Mr. Moo & Nikos,

    Excellent post; killer album artwork & font. It seems you can’t go wrong with Spring Records. Thank you so much.

    Jerome

  • Bob Farmer
    Posted at 12:20h, 05 June 2012 Reply

    Not come across this before, looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for puttting it up

  • Lys
    Posted at 03:13h, 15 February 2013 Reply

    Muito, muito obrigada pelas raridades postadas!

  • Jan
    Posted at 22:43h, 26 May 2013 Reply

    Thank you for this nice album. It’s the fierst time, I hear music of this group.

  • JD
    Posted at 07:57h, 01 June 2013 Reply

    a great one! cheers for that

  • Marcin
    Posted at 15:51h, 06 May 2014 Reply

    Remarkable, I love it!

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