Love, Peace & Happiness -1971- Love Is Stronger
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Big full sounding soul produced by Harvey Fuqua. Sort of in the hippie soul vein, but much more soul than hippie. Excellent and invigorating music that will lift the spirits of any jaded cynic.
A solid last hurrah for Love, Peace & Happiness, the least successful of the New Birth conception created by Vernon Bullock. The trio consisted of a vocal dynamo named Anne Bogan (Challengers, Marvelettes), and Melvin & Leslie Wilson (New Birth), this LP should have been their breakthrough. The trio, along with Harvey Fuqua, wrote the lion’s share of the songs. The only one to get much play was “Strip Me Naked.” The rest is a decent collection of tracks that, unfortunately, went nowhere on the charts.
This is @320 vinyl rip of my original RCA record with covers.
A1. Love Is Stronger Far Than We 5.38
A2. Only You 3.18
A3. Overlooked Generation 3.38
A4. Don’t take Your Love From Me 5.14
B1. Unborn Child 4.12
B2. Strip Me Naked 4.08
B3. You’ve Got To Be The One For Me 3.55
B4. Don’t Blame The Young Folks (For The Drug Society) 3.18
B5. Lonely Room 4.21
I’d never heard of Love, Peace & Happiness before stumbling across their record one day at the Groove Merchant. Harvey Fuqua did the production for the three-piece vocal Soul outfit that featured the brothers Melvin and Leslie Wilson plus Ann Bogan from Michigan. The whole album is enjoyable from beginning to end with Love Is Stronger Far Than We that builds up until becoming a great shouter of a Soul tune by the end, the inspirational (Only You) Message To The Establishment with a chorus of “Only You, Can Make Things Better” about self-empowerment during the 70s, and the Pop oriented and radio friendly You’ve Got To Be The One For Me. Hands down though, the best is the ending Lonely Room with its funky edge.
Ann Bogan (Challengers, Marvelettes), sing now between Mr. Melvin and Leslie Wilson. All three were also members of New Birth. LPH was part of Vernon Bullock’s revue concept that Harvey Fuqua made a reality with New Birth, the Nitelighers, and Love, Peace & Happiness. The theory behind the mini revue was that three recording acts working together increased the chances of everybody gigging more, because the odds were greater that at least one of the three would have a hit at any given time. The Nitelighters scored first with “K-Jee,” a staple of high school and college marching bands. Then New Birth rattled off a string of dramas that lit up Billboard’s R&B chart. But, despite two solid RCA albums and a few singles, LPH never had a hit.
Bogan’s blustery contralto complimented the Wilsons equally strong vocals. The three went way back a long ways. Bogan had met the brothers on gospel shows and brought them to her mentor’s attention. In addition to admiring her voice — Fuqua recorded a duet with Bogan on Harvey (“Will I Do”) — and felt he owed her something. When Motown absorbed Tri-Phi and Harvey, the Challengers became Motown artists. But only Junior Walker & the All-Stars, and to lesser degrees, Shorty Long and the Spinners received any attention
When RCA released their first single, “Don’t Blame the Young Folks,” in 1970, it marked Bogan’s eighth year in show biz. Eight financially rough years. The Challengers’ recordings, “Honey,” “Stay With Me,” and “I Hear an Echo,” were under-financed and didn’t have a chance. When Bogan became a mom, her mom insisted she raised her own kids; i.e., give it up (show business), it hasn’t gotten you anywhere. She didn’t travel with the show and Fuqua wired her money to get to wherever they were playing. Sometimes she made it; but often she didn’t, which added another nail in the groups’ coffin.
After a few more singles, “Strip Me Naked” and a rendition of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong,” they disbanded. The Wilson brothers remained the key ingredients in New Birth, and Ann Bogan settled into a secure nine-to-five J-O-B in Cleveland. LPH’s two RCA albums, Love Is Stronger (1971) and Here T’Is (1972), ought to be on a CD.