The Controllers – 1977 – In Control

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The Controllers In Control front cover

The Controllers were among the most underrated and overlooked ’70s soul groups. They didn’t generate nearly as much publicity or have as much crossover success as fellow Alabama performers the Commodores, but their slow songs were far more earthy and explosive. Their reflective “Somebody’s Gotta Win” eloquently and passionately delivered by lead singer Reginald McArthur, stands tall amongst the set’s more Southern-flavored offerings. This album was a solid hit with R&B and Southern soul audiences, and still retains plenty of power. Collectables later reissued this album as part of their Golden Classics series.

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Juanna Records LP, including covers. 

A1 People Want Music 5:01
A2 Heaven Is One Step Away 7:13
A3 This Train 3:56
B1 You Ain’t Fooling Me 3:19
B2 Somebody’s Gotta Win 8:00
B3 The Reaper 4:16
B4 Sho Nuff A Blessin 4:20

Arranged By [Horns And Strings] – Wardell Quezergue
Horns – Muscle Shoals Horns
Producer – Frederick Knight

Alabama soul belters the Controllers began as the Epics in 1965. They became the Soul Controllers in 1970, and finally the Controllers. Reginald and Larry McArthur, Lenard Brown, and Ricky Lewis formed the lineup, and were especially effective on heartache ballads, though they also did competent up-tempo dance numbers. They relocated to Miami in the late ’70s and began recording for Juana.

Frederick Knight produced some of their material, including the 1977 debut LP Somebody’s Gotta Win, Somebody’s Gotta Lose. They enjoyed moderate success with other Juana singles and LPs, though both “Heaven Is Only One Step Away” and “We Don’t” were outstanding performances. They moved to MCA in 1984. Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance on harmonica for their first MCA single, “Crushed,” which reached number 30 on the R&B charts. Their biggest MCA hit was “Stay,” which peaked at number 12 in 1986. They moved to Capitol in 1988, issuing Just in Time that year.


People’s Reviews


“Heaven Is Only One Step Away” has got to be one of the most breathtaking , soulstirring ballads of our time ,why it never made it into the worldwide mainstream is beyond me but that just makes it all that more beautiful when one finds a gem of a song like this and then later on down another fabulous gem of a song “Somebody’s gotta win,somebody’s gotta lose” these guys should have been just as famous as the four tops, the temptations, the spinners, the isley brothers,on n’ on plus they should be playing on everybody’s stereo ,keep the soul baby!!!!


Now I don’t have this on disc at this time, but I will be purchasing it without a doubt. These guys made some bad bad slow jams. In fact when I start a Slow Jam Hall Of Fame they’ll be in it. They sing from the heart, emotive, deep soul. I remember when I bought their first album back in 77, “Somebody’s Gotta Win” was the lead off tear jeaker, with “Heaven Is Only One Step Away” following hot on it’s heels. In fact, a good friend of mine, at the time, got married to that very song, that’s how bad Heaven was, and still is actually. If you get a chance and can find The Controllers “The Timeless Collection” jump on it. Serious singing going on!

Listen up the awesome ballad “Heaven Is Only One Step Away”

You can also enjoy producer’s Frederick Knight‘s “Ive Been Lonely For So Long” album here

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Conversation for album: The Controllers – 1977 – In Control

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 16:09h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Fantastic outfit – and definitely one of their best albums. ‘People want music’ was quite popular in the clubs, but the big track was ‘Somebodys gotta win’. For me, I will always have a very soft spot for ‘Heaven is only’ and its outro – ballads don’t get much dreamier than this. Fabulous post Nikos.

  • Mel
    Posted at 16:51h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    i am amazed by this “Heaven is only one step away” song. Indeed awesome, nikos. Thanks for posting.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 17:07h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    amazing, thank you very much

  • JTF
    Posted at 17:09h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    How did you know I was looking for this?

  • Unnerholm
    Posted at 17:26h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Great selection! Never realized Frederick Knight produced Controllers – Thanks Nikos – BTW – I’m hunting down some 70’s Ike & Tina albums, Do you have anything you could re-up or send links to?

  • fooliver
    Posted at 17:32h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Thx for this great LP!

  • alex
    Posted at 20:38h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    many thanks nokos for this awesome album!

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 21:05h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Unnerholm, i’ve got a few Ike & Tina albums, their two best albums “river deep mountain high” and “working together” among them. i am thinking of posting them soon . when i rip them i will send you the links.

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 21:45h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Much Appreciated Brother Nikos!! Beautiful Album!

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 22:49h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks so Much, Nikos.

  • King Megatrip
    Posted at 23:34h, 29 August 2008 Reply


  • gary
    Posted at 23:46h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    That’s an amazing post! thanx!

  • Joce
    Posted at 02:02h, 30 August 2008 Reply

    mmmm oh boy, so good. so, so, so, so gooood!

  • LuckyPhilly
    Posted at 09:13h, 30 August 2008 Reply

    Where do You find all this great stuff? Keep on dancin’ all night! Great era.

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 12:30h, 30 August 2008 Reply

    LuckyPhilly, i collect records from late 70’s from all genres but the last few years i buy soul and funk through internet since i live far away from America. I am glad you like it cause it’s a very good album.

  • Pietro
    Posted at 17:03h, 30 August 2008 Reply

    What a fantastic single! Can’t wait to hear the album! Thanks!

  • hooch
    Posted at 18:51h, 30 August 2008 Reply

    Many thanks Nikos – lovely LP

  • MagicSoul
    Posted at 22:33h, 30 August 2008 Reply

    hi nikos, thx for this one..i got it only in 128 bitrate…i ll download yours, i like a2 & b2 , very smooth n got good sweet strings! peace

  • Messiah
    Posted at 05:32h, 31 August 2008 Reply

    I’ve never heard of these gentlemen…..thanks Nikos! When you get time drop by my blog….i just posted a album up…..Peace


  • funkyDD
    Posted at 11:44h, 31 August 2008 Reply

    Looks dope, look forward to listen to this LP. Thanks!!

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 12:14h, 31 August 2008 Reply

    MagicSoul, yes, those two songs are great but i think the whole album is better than anyone expected.

  • Ryan
    Posted at 12:24h, 31 August 2008 Reply

    Man you got so many gems. i download every single one of these great albums and never disappointed. This looks very interesting. gotta give it a listen. thanks

  • musicmeiho
    Posted at 16:14h, 31 August 2008 Reply

    Sweet! Thank you

  • John F
    Posted at 21:13h, 31 August 2008 Reply

    I enjoy every single tune of this wonderful album.

  • Liza
    Posted at 00:41h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    I’m diggin’ this one!! love as always.

  • Vincent the Soul Chef
    Posted at 03:53h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Got to enjoy the sweet soul… thanks again for another incredible share, and thank you VERY much for the rips you emailed. I listened to them all and WOW!!! I’ll drop you an email later on this week.

    Peace and blessings.

  • Musicdawn
    Posted at 07:45h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Big Thanx Soul Bro! Great music as always!

  • barry
    Posted at 09:46h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Keep on Funkin’!!! Love the site and your work.

  • kizza
    Posted at 10:02h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Fantastic! Can’t say I’ve heard this album before – but it looks great! Thanks!

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 10:35h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Thanks Nikos! Keep posting these gems!

  • Vito
    Posted at 16:14h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    So sweet. Thanks a ton!

  • Donny
    Posted at 02:43h, 02 September 2008 Reply

    Wonderful Stuff.

  • shawn
    Posted at 12:40h, 02 September 2008 Reply

    Never seen it before. A plesant surpise.

  • Doctor Okeh
    Posted at 16:22h, 02 September 2008 Reply

    Nikos , this one looks real cool, I recognize the group name , but I don’t think that I have ever heard this entire record , can’t wait many thx in advance , you always come through bruddah!!!!!!!

  • kizza
    Posted at 17:38h, 04 September 2008 Reply

    Lovely post once again! Thanks a bunch!

  • wkc
    Posted at 21:28h, 17 October 2008 Reply

    Thank you for a wonderful post.

  • cafecafecafe
    Posted at 23:39h, 20 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks Nikos for this one.

  • mrserious
    Posted at 14:46h, 03 January 2009 Reply

    hi, do you have any of there other albums? in particualr 1979 Next In Line, that was a great album also,

  • Jordan
    Posted at 04:45h, 13 April 2009 Reply


  • valorie rudisill
    Posted at 21:22h, 22 May 2009 Reply

    love the controllers somebody got to win is the best song recorded. love to you

  • A Reader!
    Posted at 14:01h, 04 October 2010 Reply
  • M
    Posted at 10:33h, 11 July 2011 Reply


  • Arnika
    Posted at 19:53h, 21 July 2011 Reply

    I love their music, they should have blown up!!! My favorite is “Stay”.

  • Leslie Manuel
    Posted at 05:05h, 02 August 2014 Reply

    hi i am from south africa,and have been listeing to the controllers for SOOOOOO many years,THEY really bring home the music,man i missed the days when had vinyl sessions,in our neighbourhood,it was and stillis beautiful music

  • Leslie Manuel
    Posted at 05:16h, 02 August 2014 Reply

    funk all the way,,,RARE EARTH…funk allthe way baby….you’ve go to love it

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