The Four Tops – (ABC Years)

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The Four Tops – 1972 – Keepers Of The Castle

This is another excellent contribution from my dear friend Trakbuv who has a deep Knowledge of Soul and Funk and loves the Four Tops :

“Hi Folks – Here are 2 of my favourite Four Tops LPs from my favourite period of theirs at ABC Records. After leaving the security of the fame they enjoyed at Motown, they elected for an untested tenancy with Dunhill Records, a label more synonymous with pop, folk and country-based material. Fortunately, Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter were able to woo the mighty Four with their demos, and the rest was, for me, a marriage made in vinyl heaven.

Tracks
A1 Keeper Of The Castle (3:00)
A2 Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got) (3:04)
A3 Put A Little Love Away (3:03)
A4 Turn On The Light Of Your Love (3:36)
A5 When Tonight Meets Tomorrow (3:41)
A6 Love Music (3:35)
B1 Remember What I Told You To Forget (3:50)
B2 (I Think I Must Be) Dreaming (2:55)
B3 The Good Lord Knows (4:04)
B4 Jubilee With Soul (3:20)
B5 Love Makes You Human (4:42)
B6 Keeper Of The Castle (Reprise) (1:25)

‘Keeper’ was the first result of this union, a glorious 12 tracker loaded with hooks, charm and assured production and was met with critical acclaim and due success (reaching 33 in the US Pop Charts). Both the title track and ‘Ain’t no woman’ went gold (attaining no. 10 and 4 spots, respectively, in the US Pop Charts), whereupon Levi and the gang must have released a huge sigh of relief that there definitely was life after Gordy.

There is a effervescence in Levi’s voice that fits so effortlessly into the tuneful material. Also, Lawrence Payton’s vocals enjoys some sympathetic arrangements, most notably with the awesome ‘Love makes you human’, a massively ignored track.

Download link Keepers Of The Castle

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The Four Tops – 1974 – Meeting Of The Minds

This was followed up the equally devastating ‘Main Street People’ LP in 1973, before what I consider to be their pinnacle, the ‘Meeting Of The Minds’ long player.

The songs are among Lambert and Potter’s finest moments, ‘ with the righteous delivery of ‘One Chain’, ‘Right on Brother’, and the exceptional title track all cracking with fire in the message. Add to that some breezy pop-orientated soul in ‘Midnight Flower’, ‘Love ain’t easy’ and ‘All my love’, a nod to Motown in ‘The Well Is Dry’, and arguably Lawrence’s finest moment, ‘Tell Me You Love Me’. He co-wrote the track featuring a sexy groove that Leon Ware would envy (with female vocals by Sylvia Smith, by the way).

Tracks
A1 One Chain Don’t Make No Prison 4.03
A2 Midnight Flower 4.06
A3 The Well Is Dry 3.43
A4 Love Ain’t Easy To Come By 3.33
A5 No Sad Songs 5.11
B1 Right On Brother 4.04
B2 Tell Me You Love Me 3.27
B3 All My Love 4.26
B4 I Found The Spirit 3.53
B5 Meeting Of The Minds 4.19

Maybe this chapter in the Four Tops story could be seen to convey an absence of soul, be too pop-orientated, and be lacking in gutsy ballads. Apparently, the Tops themselves have distanced themselves from this period. I think I love these 2 LP’s because there is so much unbridled joy in the over-worn grooves.

For me, Levi Stubbs had a voice that can crackle on the verge of tears or laughter with equal ease. This timbre is then carried over to the listener with a wave of emotion that cannot be ignored or denied. My heart is simply at his mercy. The purest of gifts from one of the purest of geniuses.

Download link Meeting Of The Minds


 

Listen up ” Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got)”

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51 Comments
  • kizza
    Posted at 16:03h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    Nice post! Yes, the Four Tops were amazing! Fantastic harmony soul group! R.I.P. Levi.

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 17:43h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    When they moved to ABC/Dunhill, it was like they were revitalized… Thanks!

  • manny
    Posted at 18:08h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    thanks for posting

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 19:28h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks Trakbuv and Nikos! I’ve heard The Meeting of the Minds LP before. But I cant wait to hear Keepers of the Castle! Much Appreciated.

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 19:32h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    That has to be one of the strongest voices in the history of singing. Legendary.

  • snowmonkey
    Posted at 22:01h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    Jus found this site and WOW! Wasted about two hours of the workadaddy day routine just savoring these jewels donchaknow. Marvin, Tops, Chi-Lites, even Chairman of the Board! Gotts ta get off here before I get busted, but thank you so much!

  • Craig
    Posted at 22:33h, 24 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks Trakbruv, fantastic posts!

  • Funkygirl
    Posted at 00:37h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    The Tops can not anything wrong there brilliant!

  • musicmeiho
    Posted at 01:21h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Thank you very much

  • YankeeBoy
    Posted at 01:29h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    To say that the ABC-Dunhill period was not as good as their Motown period is mising the point. They’re completely different. And “One Chain Dont Make No Prison” is a classic.

  • hooch
    Posted at 01:57h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Many thanks as always guys!

  • Simon666
    Posted at 03:19h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    ‘One Chain Don’t Make no prison” was a childhood favourite. As a child of the 70s, these were their most important two albums to me. thanks!

  • Messiah of Soul Power Music Group
    Posted at 05:11h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks Trak! Never heard the Meeting of The Minds album….appreciate it fam! Thanks Nikos for allowing us to re-live the wonderful sound these legends created. Peace

    Messiah

  • Kent Eriksson
    Posted at 10:15h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Don´t know how to thank you Nikos for bringing back al those sweet memories from the early 70s! Why don´t we here this kind of soul nowadays?

  • k02
    Posted at 11:50h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Thank you Nikos

  • fooliver
    Posted at 13:43h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Thx 4 this great share!!!

  • jeremy
    Posted at 16:16h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Back to 1970s when music, esp. R&B, made you actually feel something! Great albums.

  • Jack Flash
    Posted at 16:24h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks for sharing Levi and The 4 Tops with all of Us…
    R.I.P. Levi

  • Ben
    Posted at 17:20h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    He will be deeply missed, as a man and a voice 🙁

  • George
    Posted at 20:22h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Excellent! Thank you!

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 20:37h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Yeah, it’s great music, no question about that. But it’s also great to see people sharing not just the music they like, but the pleasure and everything they feel upon hearing it… and thus communicating. The true meaning of listening (and dancing…) to the music. Thanks Nikos and Trakbuv for keeping up the true spirit!

  • mr.No
    Posted at 23:44h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    God bless a great artist. Levi you will be missed your song will always remain a great memory of my life.

  • Tom
    Posted at 23:58h, 25 October 2008 Reply

    Great post. My fav motown group. Love it.

  • Dennis L
    Posted at 04:17h, 26 October 2008 Reply

    Thank you for the love and support of these Four Tops albums from the Dunhill period. Levi was my childhood idol and the Tops were my all-time favorite group. Working with them brought me more success and soul satisfaction than than I could have imagined.

    Levi will be long remembered for his incredible vocal gifts, his kindness and his humility.

    Lawrence and Obie…R.I.P. Duke…you carry the torch for your lifelong soul mates. God Bless, my old friend.

  • Chad Young
    Posted at 08:57h, 26 October 2008 Reply

    Much Thanks

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 17:09h, 26 October 2008 Reply

    Mr Lambert – many thanks for gracing our pages here at Funk My Soul. I am sure that you will find that Nikos has a deep respect for your fellow artists and a not so forgotten era. I truly hope you can take comfort from these deeply appreciative blogs that refuse to allow the legacy of our heros to go unheralded. I for one am a big fan of what you achieved with the Four Tops and the Tavares. Bless you and all your colleagues for giving us so much pleasure – something that will stand the test of time. Peace and good health.

  • Roger
    Posted at 21:13h, 26 October 2008 Reply

    Bloody excellent!! What a fantastic blog!!!! Congratulations.

  • MadL
    Posted at 22:12h, 26 October 2008 Reply

    Those are indeed an exceptional records..smooth in every sense of the word.

  • Myrhax
    Posted at 22:18h, 26 October 2008 Reply

    Booyah…!!!
    THX

  • william
    Posted at 11:22h, 27 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks for The Four Tops albums!

  • Doctor Okeh
    Posted at 20:37h, 27 October 2008 Reply

    finally got these two , many thx fam!
    I’mm have to grab the others b4 I even start diggin in , can’t wait yo
    many many thx again, 4 Tops was top shelf!

  • Paul
    Posted at 01:01h, 28 October 2008 Reply

    Two wonderful Lps – Thank you

  • Zion
    Posted at 02:03h, 28 October 2008 Reply

    Really need to hear this music in these times to bring back the good memories. Thanks for this.

  • Rusty
    Posted at 12:36h, 28 October 2008 Reply

    Thanks Trakbuv and nikos for the wonderful oblation to The Four Tops.

  • rich
    Posted at 18:31h, 28 October 2008 Reply

    many thanx for the meeting of the minds album didnt have that one.

  • Roman
    Posted at 21:21h, 28 October 2008 Reply

    Thank you very much for transferring and sharing this music!!! I’ve just discovered the best side of Four Tops.

  • avocado kid
    Posted at 23:25h, 28 October 2008 Reply

    right on! gonna git my funky soul on.

  • jose
    Posted at 10:32h, 31 October 2008 Reply

    Hi, nikkos, i´m pleased to meet you again. thank you for been there!!

  • Alan Brain
    Posted at 09:40h, 03 November 2008 Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks a lot. I always had a deep love for the four tops, but never listened to these albums. Great Work Brother!! really, you are feeding my soul!!!!

  • Chris
    Posted at 03:25h, 13 November 2008 Reply

    Thanks for the Four Tops music on ABC. They did some funky, funky stuff on ABC!!! Peace

  • pedro
    Posted at 15:13h, 19 December 2008 Reply

    great lp thanks for this one

  • liam
    Posted at 06:32h, 26 December 2008 Reply

    Thanks for the opportunity to open my ears to a side of the Tops I’ve yet to hear and many other artists through your blog.

    Much respect for the time, money etc you spend to share. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Claudio
    Posted at 02:46h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    Very good, many thanks.

  • gms500
    Posted at 21:49h, 30 May 2009 Reply

    Thanks a lot for these two lost treasures. I have been looking out for them for quite a while. As a regular visitor to Lost-In-Tyme I really felt its loss. It’s nice to find you again. No doubt I’ll become a regular visitor! Thanks

  • Geewiz
    Posted at 03:25h, 12 July 2009 Reply

    What can I say about the four tops that hasn’t already been said. Great!!!!!!!!

  • Jazzwhat
    Posted at 14:31h, 24 July 2009 Reply

    Thanks for sharing, i just love the four tops!

  • Troods
    Posted at 14:51h, 06 August 2009 Reply

    It’s been blocked at rapidshare. My heart is broken. Had this album way back when. Can it be saved? Thank you for all you do!

  • Sheldon
    Posted at 22:45h, 27 October 2009 Reply

    Keeper Of the Castle……..do you have this on CD?? I’d prefer the CD version if at all possible…

    thanks

  • Cris
    Posted at 02:58h, 02 December 2009 Reply

    Wonderful soul…

  • myr
    Posted at 04:54h, 09 May 2010 Reply

    ohhhh there aren’ t links now…. They are invalid….

  • Martin
    Posted at 16:24h, 27 May 2010 Reply

    Thanks!!!
    Had Keeper of The Castle on LP ( Probe ) & Mainstreet People, two of my favourite Four Tops Albums , Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter were two great songwriters & arrangers and these LP’s were way better than their last Motown releases ( Still Waters / Nature Planned It ) I’ve been looking for copies of these for years! but nothing apart from a compilation CD ( ABC /Dunhill Years ). so hats off to you Sir ! Never Heard ‘ Meeting of the Minds’ so I’m really looking forward to this .

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