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The Independents – 1972 – The First Time We Met

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Probably the biggest album by this Chicago soul group, and the one that yielded up their big hit “The First Time We Met“. The set’s got some excellent Chicago arrangements by Tom Tom, and a good bunch of tracks that includes all original material, like “Here I Am“, “Just As Long As You Need Me“, “I Just Want To Be There“, and “Leaving Me

The Chicago-based R&B/Soul vocal group The Independents (Charles “Chuck” Jackson – half-brother of civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson – Maurice Jackson (no relation), Helen Curry and Eric Thomas) had what can only be described as a strange recording career when you look at the chart results. Recording for Florence Greenberg’s Wand Records, they only had 8 singles released from 1972 to 1974 and 7 of the 8 made the R&B Top 20, with the other one making the Top 40 (see the list in the Comments below). That is almost unheard of as most contemporary artists had one or more releases that fizzled. And yet, despite their soft, smooth and pleasant-to-the-ear harmony, just 5 crossed over to the more lucrative Billboard Pop Hot 100, the best of which was a # 21 (also their only R&B # 1), with two making the Hot 100 Bubble Under charts and one being blanked entirely.

A1 I Just Want to Be There 3:23
A2 Our Love Has Got to Come Together 3:13
A3 Can’t Understand It 2:45
A4 Just as Long as You Need Me (Part 1 & 2) 6:08
B1 Leaving Me 3:14
B2 Baby I’ve Been Missing You 3:48
B3 I Love You, Yes I Do 2:50
B4 Couldn’t Hear Nobody Say (I Love You Like You Do) 4:31
B5 Here I Am 4:18

A stellar debut from Chicago’s the Independents, a quartet that featured activist Jessie Jackson’s younger brothers: Chuck on lead vocals, and Maurice; the other members were Marvin Yancy, who wrote and produced the tunes with Chuck, and lone female member Helen Curry who blended with the guys and added some eye candy for the fellows (she was fine). They were at their best on southern drawl-slow, meandering ballads with hitches in the rhythms.

Four of their finest, “First Time We Met“, “Leaving Me” (a million seller), “Just As Long As You Need Me” (a duet featuring Chuck and Marvin), and “Baby I’ve Been Missing You“, stand out like diamonds among coals when compared to the other selections.

Picking their A-sides was a piece of cake as they waxed either hits or garbage (a term Berry Gordy, Jr. used for songs that didn’t get enough votes by his quality control panel to get released as singles).

Don’t miss their 1973 ” Chuck, Helen, Eric, Maurice” album in our back pages here