The Artistics – 1968 – The Articulate Artistics
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A well-titled set from one of the greatest soul groups to ever come from Chicago – a sublime quartet who had a way of voicing their tunes that was really head and shoulders above most of their contemporaries! This killer record showcases The Artistics’ genius right from the start – mixing in some deeper soul modes than you might expect from the Windy City side of Brunswick Records – yet still keeping the Chicago contingent firmly in place thanks to production by Carl Davis, arrangements by Sonny Sanders, and a wonderful set of material written by the likes of Eugene Record, Floyd Smith, Marvin Smith, and Gerald Sims. The vocals are wonderful – rawer at some moments than others, which really gives the album a great sense of personality.
A1 You Left Me 2:30
A2 Hard to Carry On 2:21
A3 A Man With Feeling 2:36
A4 One Last Chance 2:22
A5 That’s What My Lady Says 2:50
A6 Fading Memories 2:29
B1 Lonely Old World 2:09
B2 The Other Side of Sadness 2:36
B3 Ain’t That the Way It Goes 2:49
B4 Have No Pity 2:22
B5 Trouble, Heartache and Pain 2:18
Review by soulmakossa
With ‘The Articulate Artistics’, this group inarguably cut its best album for Brunswick. Whereas its predecessor and follow-up at times were marred by syruppy orchestration and overblown arrangements, this LP is pretty much an all-the-way through soul effort that sits nicely next to Brunswick classics such as Jackie Wilson’s ‘Whispers‘, Barbara Acklin’s ‘Love Makes a Woman‘ and Tyrone Davis’ ‘Can I Change My Mind‘.
“You Left Me” is a terrific mid-paced beater, sparsely arranged with shimmering strings and a stellar vocal by lead man Marvin Smith.
Beat diggers can cut their teeth on “Hard to Carry On“, a funky jam kicked off by a vicious drum break. Sizzling horn chart and infectious chorus on this one. “A Man With Feeling” borrows heavily from Motown, although the guitar is way more upfront, but “One Last Chance” is one of those typical Brunswick creatures: a “Higher & Higher“-groove heavy on the one.
From the authorship of Chi-Lite Eugene Record and self-styled soul man Major Lance comes the sweet, mid-tempo ballad “That’s What My Lady Says“, while there’s something of a more pop-oriented approach on the rockin’ “Fading Memories“.
“Lonely Old World” sounds a tad old-timey to my ears, but it is followed by the greatest cut on the disc, the brilliantly arranged groover “The Other Side of Sadness“, which leans on a catchy, descending bass riff and a hypnotizing, one-note Hammond lick.
An intricate horn chart graces the beautiful ballad “Ain’t That the Way It Goes“, another Record vehicle, which is juxtaposed with the heavier ditty “Have No Pity“, with its funky guitar and shaking tambourines.
The album closes on another good high with a classic bit of Windy City soul, as Smith and company cruise to the melodic “Trouble Heartache and Pain“. Simply gorgeous… especially the chorus and the string leit motif.
If you want only one Artistics album, I recommend this one.