The Brief Encounter – 1977 – The Brief Encounter (Special Release)
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Another top class soul , the notoriously expensive ‘Special Release‘ album by The Brief Encounter.
Original copies are practically impossible to find, hence the common asking price of over $2000 for collectors. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama by a small-time group of musicians from rural North Carolina in 1977, and is rightly considered a masterpiece of its time, showcasing funky rare grooves, beautiful ballads and the deepest strains of magical soul that’s been entrancing heads and collectors for decades.
By George O’Leary
The recording career of this band from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, smack up against the Blue Ridge Mountains was, like their name, brief, not to mention exceedingly modest when it came to commercial success. Originally calling themselves The Sounds Of Soul, they switched to Brief Encounter when it became apparent there were other groups using that original name. And they were a large group, which mitigated against a lot of public appearances to promote their music, with lead vocalist Maurice Whittington, vocalist/bassist/guitarist and keyboardist Gary Bernard Bailey, vocalist/keyboardist Montie Bailey, saxophonist Larry “Tony” Bailey, keyboardists Velmar “Spelly” Bailey and Barth Strempek, drummer/flutist Rufus Wilborn, drummer/percussionist Fredrick Alexander, trumpeter Charles Graham, and guitarist Michael Carter.
Their first 3 cracks at a charting single came in 1973/74 with Seventy Seven Records, a subsidiary of Nashville’s Sound Stage 7 Records, a primarily Soul outlet launched back in 1963 by Fred Foster, but none among (Don’t You See) I’m Crazy About You b/w We’re Going To Make It as Seventy Seven 132 and I’m So Satisfied b/w Don’t Let Them Tell You as Seventy Seven 123 in 1973 and, in 1974, Just A Little Notion b/w I’m So In Love With You as Seventy Seven 903, could crack any national listings.
That changed, albeit in a minor way, in 1976 when they had What About Love? top out at # 82 R&B b/w Get Right Down (And Do It) as Capitol 4229. What isn’t clear is if this was a Seventy Seven pair of recordings that were picked up by the giant label or if they were actually recorded at Capitol studios, because their next release, the non-charting Total Satisfaction b/w Human came out in 1977 as Sound Plus 2179, another of Sound Stage 7’s subsidiaries, while their second and last charting side, the July 1977 # 78 R&B entry In A Very Special Way was also a Capitol release b/w Get A Good Feeling as Capitol 4426.
That same year they had their first of what would be 2 albums come out from Seventy Seven Records titled “The Brief Encounter” (Seventy Seven 102).
Four years later, in 1981, they had their second album come out titled “We Want To Play” as Music Town Records RSR-1205
It is included most of their singles from 1973 -1976