The Impressions – 1969 – The Young Mods’ Forgotten Story

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The quintessential Chicago soul group, the Impressions’ place in R&B history would be secure if they’d done nothing but launch the careers of soul legends Jerry Butler Curtis Mayfield and Leroy Hutson. But far more than that, the Impressions recorded some of the most distinctive vocal-group R&B of the ’60s under Mayfield’s guidance. Their style was marked by airy, feather-light harmonies and Mayfield’s influentially sparse guitar work, plus, at times, understated Latin rhythms. If their sound was sweet and lilting, it remained richly soulful thanks to the group’s firm grounding in gospel tradition; they popularized the three-part vocal trade-offs common in gospel but rare in R&B at the time, and recorded their fair share of songs with spiritual themes, both subtle and overt. Furthermore, Mayfield’s interest in the civil rights movement led to some of the first socially conscious R&B songs ever recorded, and his messages grew more explicit as the ’60s wore on, culminating in the streak of brilliance that was his early-’70s solo work.

Young Mods’ Forgotten Story is one of the Impressions’ best albums. Nearly every single cut’s a classic and the group outdid themselves vocally, especially Curtis, who always makes our heart break on this one! Donny Hathaway and  Johnny Pate handled the arrangements.

This is a @320 vinyl rip of Sequel reissue, original 1969 album was in Curtom.

Tracks
A1 The Young Mods’ Forgotten Story 2:00
A2 Choice of Colors 3:15
A3 The Girl I Find 2:37
A4 Wherever You Leadeth Me 2:32
A5 My Deceiving Heart 2:49
B1 Seven Years 2:21
B2 Love’s Miracle 2:24
B3 Jealous Man 2:34
B4 Soulful Love 2:30
B5 Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey) 2:21

The Reviews

1

…..I was only five years old when this album came out. It is still my favorite album of all time. Seven years, Soulful Love, Jealous man… and more. Back then, the medium was 8-track and everybody (and their mother) had one. I would listen to it over and over and over. Darn near forty years later, I’m still listening to this album over and over and over!!!

This particular album played tricks in how it was recorded. Vocals on the left, horns on the right. Even though I had (many times) wished that this album had been re-recorded, I’m glad (now) that they didn’t. No need to mess with perfection.

The music, itself, was (in my opinion) Curtis & co. at their hungriest. Too many times, we see artists after they have “made it” and they seem to lose something after that. Curtis never lost “it” and always had “it”. This album is a classic and a must-have for the old-skool players.

2

Anyway, this is a fine record and a true joy to listen to. This album finds  Curtis Mayfield  in full creative flower, and foreshadows his first great solo album Curtis, with its catchy hooks, gorgeous string and horn drenched arrangements, and thoughtful lyricism. Although Curtis is no stranger to the hackneyed genre of “the love song”, he is able to infuse such tracks with so many ear-pleasing twists that every track becomes a sort of mini-pop-symphony, even if they’re mostly about chicks.

However, Mayfield’s other main lyrical concern is equality and black empowerment. In this vein, we have the fantastic “Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)“, and the sublime “Choice of Colors“, with its immortal couplet, “If you had a choice of colors, which one would you choose, my brothers? If there was no day or night, which would you prefer to be right?”. Heavy stuff, but Mayfield’s messages are always couched in gorgeous arrangements, and he never hits you over the head – really it’s more of a gentle prod.

A wonderful album and certainly worth picking up for any fan of Mayfield, or 60s soul in general.

3

The title read like a concept album (and the opener seemed to introduce a larger idea at work), but The Young Mods’ Forgotten Story hung together only as the usual (read: brilliant) late-’60s LP from the Impressions: a few solid songs with a social or inspirational viewpoint and the rest featuring Curtis Mayfield’s continuing exploration of love in all its forms. Two of the message songs were among the best of the group’s history; “Choice of Colors” tenderly investigated black feelings about race, while the party song “Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey) gave blacks and whites a rare chance to celebrate empowerment together. Mayfield’s romantic songs ranged farther than usual, from the innocent, delicate “The Girl I Find” (complete with turtledove cries) to a deconstruction of the end of a long affair “Seven Years” to the overbearing “Jealous Man“, all with great arrangements provided by veteran Johnny Pate and newcomer Donny Hathaway. (Hathaway’s addition didn’t alter the Impressions’ sound significantly, though his harmonic expertise and affinity for the church do find their way into a couple of tracks.) Only one song, “Wherever You Leadeth Me“, found the group treading water (it could just as easily have appeared five years earlier). The rest was intriguing late-’60s soul from one of the best acts in the business.

4

One of my favorite 60’s soul records, The Young Mod’s Forgotten Story is criminally short with only one cut breaking the three minute barrier. While the album mostly consists of light soul-pop with the odd political song thrown in, there are some definite hints of the wah wah guitar and funkiness to come in lead songwriter Curtis Mayfield’s solo career. Arranged by future soul superman Donny Hathaway, the album is oozing with lush string arrangements and energetic horns. One of the interesting things I find about this album is how such cliched and run-of-the-mill love songs like “The Girl I Find” are so enjoyable because of the arrangements. Every song has a great hook, and the melodies are as sweet as they come.

Choice of Colors” isn’t exactly “What’s Going On” but it’s definitely an important song from the era. While the songs range from innocent love ballads like “My Deceiving Heart” to powerful feelings of racial acceptance like “Mighty Mighty (Spade and Whitey)” they all maintain basic pop sensibilities and while I’m generally not a fan of pop-soul this album is too good to ignore and will appeal to both pop fans and soul aficionados alike.

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65 Comments
  • andre
    Posted at 18:12h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    i gotta check this one out, if u say it’s ur favorite it’s gotta be good. thank u!

  • Raphy
    Posted at 22:27h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    The Impressions Seem to can’t do anything wrong, especially in the eyes of a Jamaican….This group more than any other, have the greatest impact on our culture/reggae…At on one point in our history almost every group that was formed tried to sound like the impressions. eg. Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Uniques, The Techniques just to name a few…Thank you Nikos for this very HARD to GET LP>>>>I’ll Treasure it!

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 18:50h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    andre, not exactly my fav – as i use reviews from other sources too – but certainly a record every soul fan should have.

  • rabs
    Posted at 18:52h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    I love the impressions, and this looks like another great album from them after a short listen. Thanks a lot again Nikos 🙂

  • Sun
    Posted at 18:57h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    one of the best 60’s group especially when Curtis took over! Amazing record brothers.

  • Maria
    Posted at 18:59h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks for the gem. Brilliant.

  • robert
    Posted at 20:14h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks for this record, Nikos I have the reissue vinyl but it’s nice to have an mp3 copy as well. This Is My Country is probably my fave Impressions but this one is essential, like you said.

    Have a great weekend!

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 20:40h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    Robert, This is my country is a vinyl i still miss. the one with the trio standing in front of a decrepit building. But ofcource i have it on mp3. Both albums are so so great. probably these are the best record of their carear.

  • musicmeiho
    Posted at 21:28h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    Thank you.

  • solomon
    Posted at 22:36h, 23 May 2008 Reply

    love the 7 years song thanks

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 06:24h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Nikos! Great album…haven’t listened to The Impressions for a long time (there is soooo much music around)…thanks for refreshing my memory! 🙂

    /L

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 06:52h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Raphy, thanks for the point. Never thought they had so much impact in the Jamaican music culture.

  • Martini
    Posted at 06:59h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Once again great post! I’ve never heard about this album until now.. thank you for expanding my musical horizons 🙂

  • k02
    Posted at 07:55h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    This amazing can thank you enough.

  • Flormega
    Posted at 09:01h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Wow Nice Blog!!!!Great Job!!!
    Peace!

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 09:50h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks as always, Nikos.

  • soul is the music
    Posted at 11:24h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    This is worth checking out as a precursor to Curti’s solo releases from the 70’s. Mayfield had hit his stride by 1969, and he was getting ready to go out on his own, but he made this one last great album with the group. Divided between songs of romance and socially conscious message songs, this material is uniformly strong.

  • mike
    Posted at 11:31h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    yes this is right bro. Further more two of the best songs in Impressions playlist is included here. The #1 R&B hit, “Choice of Colors” and “Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)” with a Sly Stone touch.

  • catacaldos
    Posted at 12:00h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks again.You aim really high in music.Always sharing a lot of treasures.

  • hooch
    Posted at 13:03h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Thank You man!

  • Kizza
    Posted at 13:06h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks Nikos! Classic album! It’s great to have a high quality rip to replace my crappy 192 version!

  • Ricardo
    Posted at 15:59h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Impressions – surely the most important R&B group ever!
    Thanks a million for this super album.

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 16:18h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Ricardo, Impressions was essential but not the most important one. I think – as most soul fans and critics – that The Temptations is the best R&B group of all time. Imagine that they had a hugh excellent discography with 17 #1 R&B albums. i think stevie wonder, Jay Zee and another one i forger had 10. Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Dennis Edwards…..among their singers.

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 17:29h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Late sixties seemed to be the turning point in r’b. More or less in a matter of consciousness. All the great artists seemed to leave behind them songs and themes about “baby love” and began searching love and consciousness across the universe. Curtis was among them pioneers along with some other great minds. In 1968 The Impressions released their last ABC album “We’re A Winner”. In my mind, this (among others) pushed soul music forward to the “a change is gonna come” mood and “We’re A Winner” furthermore gave birth to Curtom with its logo and attidute. Great albums followed. Soul music from now on would not be the same. And that is the point brothers. Keep on keeping on, as Curtis himself sang later. Temptations and Impressions and others were the true heroes in soul music, because they actually sang their hearts and souls out. You can’t call it soul music for nothing.
    Thank you all for your time, and thank you Niko for letting me say these thoughts.

  • JTF
    Posted at 20:01h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    always wanted to check this one out…

  • John E.
    Posted at 20:24h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Great design, amazing posts, educating comments. What else can i ask?
    Congratulations nikos.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 21:05h, 24 May 2008 Reply

    Amazing!

  • TGrundy
    Posted at 02:25h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    Nikos: another excellent selection, as always. Luv the detailed info you always provide with the music. Thanks!

  • gianni
    Posted at 07:50h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    super!!! thanks nikos!
    another gem! curtis’ voice is so sweet…

  • Simon666
    Posted at 05:21h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    A fantastic album,always good to hear it. Loving the site, amazing amount of work you do here, keep it up !

  • Seth
    Posted at 07:30h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    I feel like an idiot to have a lot of impressions records and not this one. Thank you for opening eyes man.

  • jack P
    Posted at 07:37h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    Maybe not so popular as Marvin or Stevie but Curtis was as good as them. Amazing artist. This one is really a top album.

  • O.F.
    Posted at 16:28h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    Curtis and co can’t go wrong. Yes everything is great here.

  • c lu
    Posted at 17:26h, 25 May 2008 Reply

    quality post, from a super duper quality blog site.
    thanks man

    much love
    clu

  • FatN
    Posted at 04:34h, 26 May 2008 Reply

    I love almost everything Curtis has released and i love this blog so much. Peace and blessings.

  • LmLy
    Posted at 06:31h, 26 May 2008 Reply

    I Just discovered your Blog and this is the first iten that i click.
    You know what?
    1. This is really great music – thanks
    2. It is absurd that we can not upload the large version of cover/back cover. I should not offer it if you do not a chance for it.
    Beside it this look be a great blog
    Love

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 07:34h, 26 May 2008 Reply

    LmLy, both front and back vinyl covers are included in the link.
    If you download it you’ll have full album songs and covers.

  • Faith hope and charity
    Posted at 17:54h, 26 May 2008 Reply

    you´re da man nikos, “seven years” is such a great tune… thanks man

  • grington
    Posted at 21:41h, 26 May 2008 Reply

    GREAT! much aprichiated!

  • Jack Flash
    Posted at 10:24h, 27 May 2008 Reply

    Thanks for this soulful post….Glad to see You back

  • Rich
    Posted at 16:58h, 27 May 2008 Reply

    Nikos cant wait to listen to this one again thanx for all the great post i really appreciate it.

  • Godfaz
    Posted at 18:22h, 28 May 2008 Reply

    I’m watching the download status bar with impatience. Thanks a lot Nikos !

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 10:20h, 29 May 2008 Reply

    Brilliant Nikos! You’re Great!

  • kenny dust
    Posted at 15:13h, 29 May 2008 Reply

    I was previously unaware of this album by the Impressions, thanx for sharing this gem.

    Big up to Raphy, oh so true about the influence. Bout to draw the Techniques ‘Traveling Man’ cos of that.

  • cafecafecafe
    Posted at 20:55h, 30 May 2008 Reply

    Really good album. I love when Curtis Mayfield was with this group. Thanks for sharing.

  • manny
    Posted at 05:05h, 01 June 2008 Reply

    Man do I love visiting this blog… thank you for posting Nikos

  • jorgen
    Posted at 09:37h, 02 June 2008 Reply

    man, it’s great!
    and for those that don’t know it.
    every album with them is worth listening to.
    that’s it.
    Thank you!

  • gabe
    Posted at 21:43h, 03 June 2008 Reply

    whoa man…this is my dad’s fav. impressions LP. thnx

  • Paul
    Posted at 10:16h, 04 June 2008 Reply

    Jesus, across the genres – 60’s, 70’s, Disco, Northern, Modern, Crossover, popular, obscure….. you’re picking them, one gem after another…. your site is impeccable.
    I could have posted this in any of the comments section but this is my favourite Impressions album, hadn’t heard it for ages and it’s just perfect.

    Thank you.

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 11:24h, 04 June 2008 Reply

    Paul, I try to share records people should have in their collection. Not just an interesting or simply good record. i wish i had more time to do a few things i have in mind. anyway keep in touch.

  • hecdolo
    Posted at 21:30h, 04 June 2008 Reply

    thanks

  • Darrell
    Posted at 02:07h, 16 June 2008 Reply

    I have all the Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions original albums, they’re a real treasure to me, I will not give these gems up for nothing in the world, The Impressions were a very talented group in the 1960’w and early 70’s, but after Curtis left the group, the Impressions were unable to keep it’s popularity ratings up, that was very sad, I wish Curtis would have stayed with the group a little longer, their harmonies were great!!

  • pd
    Posted at 16:25h, 24 August 2008 Reply

    i think this is their best as well. at least it is my favourire. thanks for ripping!

  • ALEX
    Posted at 20:42h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    AWEXOME ALBUM NIKOS!
    BIG THANKS MAN!

  • modfather
    Posted at 16:55h, 02 October 2008 Reply

    Jeez great site man, nothing like soul, More into Northern myself, but any soul will do for me , Thanks Man

  • jean
    Posted at 04:24h, 30 October 2008 Reply

    oooooooooooo men thks..1word..Beautiful

  • Chris
    Posted at 08:25h, 12 November 2008 Reply

    Do you guys ever stop with the heat!!!??? Man, keep it coming. Great work…AGAIN. Are you guys tired of me posting yet???

  • Cody B
    Posted at 17:35h, 29 December 2008 Reply

    Glad to see you again,Nikos! I realize I’m a little slow, but glad to have found you and your exquisite soul flow.

  • retroman
    Posted at 02:43h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    Good music it’s always hard to find. Thanks, man.

  • ksn
    Posted at 00:00h, 10 March 2009 Reply

    your site’s a goldmine and time machine all wrapped up in one. thanks from nyc!
    ksn

  • Karl
    Posted at 11:02h, 13 November 2009 Reply

    Great album fantastic harmonies. I’ve only really heard The Impressions via 45’s at Northern Soul nights, also never realised ‘Mighty Mighty’ was one of theirs. The version I have is on a Curtis Mayfield live LP.

  • Bass
    Posted at 00:02h, 12 March 2010 Reply

    Thanks men i love the impressions. Many thanks

  • Sonar
    Posted at 14:55h, 07 April 2012 Reply

    Thanks so much for these Impressions albums, and for your awesome blog. All of you keep up the great work.

  • Tom
    Posted at 20:58h, 16 December 2013 Reply

    The link seems to be broken!?!

  • nik
    Posted at 06:21h, 11 May 2015 Reply

    rdy to delve into this one, many thanks!

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