Gladys Knight & The Pips – 1973 – Imagination

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A pivotal album for Gladys Knight & The Pips – as the record features their super-huge hit “The Midnight Train To Georgia“, a landmark track that not only had a catchy pop hook, but which spoke volumes about African-American migration in the postwar years. The track’s one of those you’ve heard a million times, but it’s got a strength that still holds up tremendously. Part of this is due to great production work by Tony Camillo – who handled arrangements and studio work on about half the tracks – and part is due to Jim Weatherly, who wrote the song, and about half the others on the album. The whole album’s great – one of the best Buddah Records moments for the group.

Tracks
A1 Midnight Train to Georgia 4:38
A2 I’ve Got to Use My Imagination 3:29
A3 Storms of Troubled Times 3:44
A4 Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me 3:45
A5 Once in a Lifetime Thing 3:41
B1 Where Peaceful Waters Flow 4:24
B2 I Can See Clearly Now 4:28
B3 Perfect Love 2:37
B4 Window Raisin’ Granny 6:09

After a successful run for Soul / Motown, Glady’s Knight & The Pips decided to take a different crossroad, apart from million-sellers like “Neither One Of Us”, “Heard It Through The Grapevine” and “Don’t Want To Do Wrong” which all were successful for the group’s resume. This would be another mlllion-seller but this time for Buddsh Records, with compositions mostly from Jim Weatherly, but they are all interpreted flawlessly. “Midnight Train To Georgia” tells of a man “dreaming that someday he’d be a star”, but his road to success becomes a pipe dream and he ends up “back to the life he once knew”. “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” deals with the result of lament “when a good love dies”. “Storms Of Troubled Times” is when you need a friend. “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” is a perfect wedding song (check out The Persuaders’ version from the Atco album of the same title). Listen to the group’s heart-searing version of “Once In A Lifetime Thing” and then, again, hear the same by The Persuaders and see which one hurts you more. “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” sounds like the resting place we will all go to. As I stated, a million-seller for Buddah Records and peace of mind from a family-based group that made itself a legend in true soul music!

The first album cut by Glady’s Knight & the Pips for Buddah Records was a watershed in their history. Co-produced by the group and Tony Camillo, Imagination embodied all of what Gladys Knight & the Pips had learned in their previous six years at Motown, watching the way their records were made, combined with the maturity of the sound that they’d achieved in that time, and virtually complete freedom to choose their repertory — a factor that they were mature and sophisticated to exploit to the fullest. The result was four hit songs, including the chart-topping “Midnight Train to Georgia” (originally written as “Midnight Plane to Houston”) and one of the biggest selling albums in their history — Imagination was sophisticated soul at its best, Knight belting out numbers with great forcefulness and passion while the group provided delicate backup. Among the surprising non-hits is the radiantly sung “Perfect Love” and a beautiful harmonized cover of “I Can See Clearly Now“, featuring the Pips singing lead.

You can also enjoy their great 1973 album “All I Need Is Time” in our back pages here.

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20 Comments
  • Grumpy
    Posted at 22:32h, 01 November 2013 Reply

    Thank you!

  • Esther
    Posted at 00:33h, 02 November 2013 Reply

    Love Gladys and this is a superb moment in their career.

  • Loucas7
    Posted at 15:35h, 02 November 2013 Reply

    Certainly one of the greatest voices ever.

  • Joe
    Posted at 00:53h, 03 November 2013 Reply

    As always, Gladys Knight & the Pips have a soulful song for every occasion.

  • MaN
    Posted at 01:02h, 03 November 2013 Reply

    Been a fan of gladys knight forever. This is a great LP.

  • Fly
    Posted at 20:33h, 03 November 2013 Reply

    Soul Heaven must be here..

  • Ironman
    Posted at 20:51h, 03 November 2013 Reply

    Gladys Knight and The Pips remain one of the best groups ever.

  • Larry
    Posted at 10:08h, 04 November 2013 Reply

    Back in the day when singers sang with feeling and meaning.

  • Marie
    Posted at 10:10h, 04 November 2013 Reply

    Love love love this woman.

  • Carlo
    Posted at 11:13h, 04 November 2013 Reply

    Absolute perfection! Thanks Gladys and the Pips! Love it.

  • Nora
    Posted at 10:14h, 05 November 2013 Reply

    Aretha and Gladys are the best female singers ever.

  • jAQUES
    Posted at 11:20h, 05 November 2013 Reply

    Golden 70’s. Such an amazing album.

  • Salinos
    Posted at 22:19h, 05 November 2013 Reply

    Classic soul by a class woman, love her voice…

  • Elina
    Posted at 22:32h, 05 November 2013 Reply

    great memories ♥

  • Sara
    Posted at 09:49h, 06 November 2013 Reply

    The empress of Soul.

  • Joeboy
    Posted at 09:46h, 07 November 2013 Reply

    Thanks great album

  • Kingboy
    Posted at 12:54h, 07 November 2013 Reply

    Top 20 soul album ever.

  • Wess
    Posted at 19:41h, 07 November 2013 Reply

    My fav Gladys album. Awesome.

  • FM Fats
    Posted at 22:45h, 11 November 2013 Reply

    All this and great chicken and waffles, too!

  • RF17
    Posted at 13:23h, 19 November 2013 Reply

    Amazing Gladys. My fav.

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