Brighter Side Of Darkness – 1972 – Love Jones

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Review by RDTEN1

Rip, posting & additional info’s by Nikos

A tremendous bit of harmony soul from Chicago, one of the few cases where the Windy City really gave the east coast a run for its money and the landmark album from teen soul quartet Brighter Side Of Darkness! Although young, Brighter Side managed to bring a depth to their work that was way more than kiddie soul, a heartfelt, heartbreaking quality that was all adult, no matter how youthful the themes  and their vocals are a perfect contrast to the fuller arrangements from producers Clarence Johnson and Johnny Cameron. The set contains the group’s classic “Love Jones“, still one of the best fragile harmony tracks of the early 70s – plus loads of other great numbers like “I Owe You Love“, “I’m A Loser“, “Just A Little Bit“, and a superb remake ofSummer Ride“.

Tracks

A1 Just A Little Bit (Vocal) 5:35
A2 Oh Baby 3:00
A3 I Owe You Love 3:42
A4 Love Jones (Vocal) 4:30
A5 I’m A Loser 3:10
B1 Love Jones (Instrumental) 4:30
B2 Something To Remember You By 3.08
B3 Just A Little Bit (Instrumental)5:43
B4 Summer Ride 2:30
B5 I’m The Guy 2:35
Bonus
Because I Love You
He Made You Mine

back

Sharing an interest in music, Chicago high school friends Ralph Eskridge, Randolph Murph, and Larry Washington started singing at local school dances and talent shows.  They eventually attracting the attention of local promoter Anna Preston who took the group onboard, adding then 12 year old Darryl Lamont to the line up and christening them The Brighter Side of Darkness.

With Lamont handling lead vocals the group won a local talent contest, attracting the attention of promoter Clarence Johnson who signed them to a recording deal with his Clarence Paul Productions.  He subsequently recorded some demos with the group, subsequently shopping them out to the newly reactivated 20th Century Fox label.  20th Century Fox quickly latched on to the group composition ‘Love Jones’ releasing it as a single:

– 1972’s ‘Love Jones’ b/w ‘I’m the Guy’ (20th Century Fox catalog number TC-2002) # 17 pop; # 3 R&B

The single quickly went gold, leading 20th Century Fox to rush the group into the studio to record a supporting album.  The cleverly titled “Love Jones” served to pull together a mixture of early demos and new studio material.  Normally support albums don’t have a great deal going for them, but this was one of those rare exceptions.  Mind you it wasn’t perfect.  Lamont’s pre-teen voice was a bit on the shrill side, especially when he was forced to power his way through a song.  Still these guys were actually far more talented than the single would have you believe.  On a related note you had to feel a little sympathy for these guys – especially since they were forced to embarrass themselves with a cover photo showing them in matching pink silk outfits …  You know they got some abuse from friends for those outfits.

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– Anyone who only knew the group for the noveltytitle track hit was likely to be surprised by how good these guys could be.  Lead singer Lamont was clearly the focal point of the group, but on the opener he was relegated to a couple of versus showcasing the fact the other three members were all decent singers with far more mature voices.  Those tools were well displayed on the steamy opener ‘Just a Little Bit‘.  Supported by some funky horn charts and nice wha-wha guitar, ‘Just a Little Bit’ was a great mid-tempo slice of funk and one of the standout performances.
– Far more commercial and radio friendly, ‘Oh Baby‘ showcased Lamont’s pre-adolescent vocals.  Lamont actually had a nice voice, not all that different than a young Michael Jackson and the track actually had kind of a breezy Jackson Five vibe to it.
– Personally I’ve always found it kind of creepy to hear really young boys singing about love and ‘I Owe You Love‘ was no exception.  Lamont’s voice simply sounded out of place on the track and forcing the arrangement forcec the other members to reach for a mile high falsetto which was patently unfair – I’m not sure who it was, but the poor guy literally sounded like his testicles were being crushed by a pair of pliers.  Even weirder was hearing the spoken word segment from a woman that sounded like she was old enough to be Lamont’s granny.  On the other hand it was funny to hear them singing the lyric as I.O.U.
– Ah, the song they’re remembered for …  The only original on the album, musically there really wasn’t a great deal to this one – essentially a spoken word rap explaining what a love jones was with Lamont and company endless repeating the title in the background.  I remember originally hearing this and finding it cloying, though in retrospect it’s actually kind of sweet in a naive fashion. (If you’ve never heard it be sure to check out the Cheech and Chong parody ‘Basketball Jones’).
– ‘I’m a Loser‘ found the group moving back towards a more conventional soul ballad.  Nice melody and the baseball analogy was cute, though once again Lamont’s pre-teen vocals were kind of an acquired taste..
– The ‘Love Jones‘ instrumental was basically filler meant to pad the album out.  Stick with the vocal version on side one.

– I’ve listened to this album dozens of times and I have to admit thata other than the opening jangle guitar chords, ‘Something To Remember You By‘ is the one track that’s never made much of an impression on me.  Another pretty, but bland ballad …
– The instrumental version of ‘Just a Little Bit‘ was clearly another filler, though this one at least had a little bit of a funky edge.  It would have sounded okay on a Curtis Mayfield soundtrack album.
– ‘Summer Ride‘ was also released as a single, but to my ears it was pretty terrible.  The song itself was kind of clumsy and the group really didn’t seem all that enthusiastic in their delivery which was actually barely in tune.  As if to compensate for the subpar performance producer William Johnson buried the track in equally awkward strings.
– Another cutesy reflection on high school love, ‘I’m the Guy‘ was an okay mid-tempo ballad with a pretty melody and funny lyrics.  In an era of Blackberries and PDAs its hard to imagine kids sending notes to one another in class today …   The song got bonus points in that Lamont didn’t handle the lead vocals.  

The album was eventually tapped for two follow-on singles:

– 1973’s ‘Just a Little Bit’ b/w ‘Something To Remember You By’ (20th Century Fox catalog number TC-2021)
– 1973’s ‘I Owe You Love’ b/w ‘Summer Ride’ (20th Century Fox catalog number TC-2034)

Powered by the title track and the resulting publicity, the parent LP eventually hit # 35 R&B.

Not a perfect album (side one was definitely stronger than the flip), but an interesting timepiece that should appeal to old school soul collectors.  

Unfortunately things went downhill after that.  The details are lost in history, but
Eskridge, Murph, and Washington were fired for unprofessional behavior related to an appearence on Soul Train.  Johnson subsequently recruited a new group for Lamont.

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24 Comments
  • Doctor Dope
    Posted at 14:50h, 22 January 2012 Reply

    Thanks for this … but there seems to be a problem with the link.

  • simon
    Posted at 16:27h, 22 January 2012 Reply

    Link is not working!

  • Nikos
    Posted at 17:48h, 22 January 2012 Reply

    The problem is to Filesonic cause i uploaded it again. I reported it and expect them to fix it soon.

  • macabre5150
    Posted at 20:08h, 22 January 2012 Reply

    Hey Nikos,
    Nice drop, i had this one before but lost it, in the megaupload closing. anyways I like to thank you and your partners on the great job you do here. Your efforts are not in vain. grerat job and keep those memories coming thanks. alos the link might be fix today so i will check back later

  • Jay
    Posted at 23:40h, 22 January 2012 Reply

    Hey Thanks for the awesome music. For some reason this link is not working. I think Filesonic has decided to cave in to the shut down from what I read in the error msg.

    Thx
    Jay

  • Jay
    Posted at 23:46h, 22 January 2012 Reply

    OK NOW I AM CONVINCED, THIS IS WHAT ALL OF YOUR LINKS SAY WHEN TRYING TO DOWNLOAD FROM FILESONIC:
    All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.

    If this file belongs to you, please login to download it directly from your file manager.

    THIS IS IN RELATION TO THE MOVEMENT TO STOP FILE SHARING, PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM SHUT YOU DOWN…WE NEED AND SUPPORT THIS HARD TO FIND SOUL MUSIC!

    THANKS AGAIN, WE SUPPORT YOU!

    JAY

  • Simon666
    Posted at 03:45h, 23 January 2012 Reply

    Hi Nikos, great writeup! 🙂
    Just read on the news that yes, Filesonic has disabled all sharing …

  • Followed the blog for years
    Posted at 06:11h, 23 January 2012 Reply

    This is all due to the SOPA/PIPA scare and now the ACTA scare…they are bullying file sharing websites and filesonic seems to have bent to the pressure.

    Information about the new bill ACTA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8Xg_C2YmG0

  • good music lover
    Posted at 12:44h, 23 January 2012 Reply

    “Results from the past are no guarantee …” however considering previous posts I think it is save to assume that a big thanks is suitable.

    BIG THANKS Nikos.

  • Eugene
    Posted at 21:29h, 23 January 2012 Reply

    Nikos, thanks to you and the other contributors for this and so many other shared dropsThe music here is unfamiliar to me but I know it’s sure to be top notch quality and a joy to listen to. Nil Desperandum…..where there’s a will there’s a way.
    Respect & regards,

    Eugene

  • rich
    Posted at 21:37h, 23 January 2012 Reply

    great album nikos and i hope the end of file sharing doesnt come to an end

  • London
    Posted at 14:18h, 24 January 2012 Reply

    Thanks so much for the re upload! Excellent stuff!

  • Ellen
    Posted at 09:33h, 25 January 2012 Reply

    Keep it up guys. Great work you do.

  • Brotherpete
    Posted at 15:52h, 25 January 2012 Reply

    thank you very much, very nice !!!

  • hooch
    Posted at 16:08h, 25 January 2012 Reply

    many thanks guys – lovely LP and a much better bitrate than i had previous!

  • Nuno
    Posted at 16:16h, 26 January 2012 Reply

    This is great!

  • Spaceboy
    Posted at 19:42h, 26 January 2012 Reply

    The important thing is to continue the excellent work you do. With or without links.

  • javaspa
    Posted at 11:01h, 27 January 2012 Reply

    Δεν γίνετε να μην γράψω για ακόμα μια φορά όταν βλέπω τέτοιες αλμπουμάρες να μοιράζονται
    Πάλι να πω το μπράβο και το ευχαριστώ θα είναι λίγο..

    Απο τις δουλειές που τις καούω ευχάριστα ώρες και ώρες, ειδικά στην δουλειά

    Φυσικά, εννοείτε πως το 2006 (αν θυμάμαι καλά), είχα σαμπλάρει το ομόνυμο κομμάτι
    “love jones”

    Επειδη δεν το έχω μαζί μου, παραθέτω το λινκ για τους περίεργους :):):):):)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uDwdojINZ4

  • Kenneth
    Posted at 00:27h, 28 January 2012 Reply

    wooow a rare classic!!! thanks for posting this;it brings backs wonderful memories

  • Calvin
    Posted at 12:06h, 28 January 2012 Reply

    Man, if I could turn back the hands of time!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Appreciative Visitor
    Posted at 00:23h, 29 January 2012 Reply

    It’s new to me, so thank you!

  • Carlos
    Posted at 13:02h, 30 January 2012 Reply

    Thumbs UP FOR this one

  • Chris
    Posted at 11:10h, 31 January 2012 Reply

    sweet melodies

  • Tony
    Posted at 09:41h, 09 February 2012 Reply

    Good old times. Yeah. Love it.

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