The Independents – 1973 – Chuck, Helen, Eric, Maurice

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Rip, posting & additional info’s by Nikos

The Independents’ sophomore album 1973’s “Chuck, Helen, Eric, Maurice” featured a personnel change – original member Marvin Yancy replaced by Eric Thomas.  While Yancy dropped out of active performing, he continued his working relationship with the group, but this time around in the role of songwriter and producer.  Co-produced by Jackson and Yancy, the album seemingly sought to find a balance between past successes and some new directions.  While the heavy reliance on ballads certainly served the group well on the debut album (wracking up a series of radio hits), Jackson and Yancy were smart enough to avoid falling into an aural trap with this album.   There were still plenty of old school ballads showcasing Chuck Jackson’s lead vocals (though Curry was notably absent throughout the set).  ‘The First Time We Met‘ and the breezy ‘Lucky Fellow‘ were first rate ballads, easily as good as anything on the debut.  Less impressive were the single ‘It’s All Over‘ and the closer ‘Sara Lee‘.  That said, this time around the highlights came in the form of the group’s atypical offerings; among them the bluesy “The Same Old Way” and the up tempo numbers ‘No Wind, No Rain‘ and ‘Show Me How‘.

Tracks
A1
It’s All Over3.37
A2
No Wind, No Rain 2.57
A3
The Same Old Way 3.30
A4
I Found Love on a Rainy Day 4.14
A5
The First Time We Met 2.38
B1
In the Valley of My World 4.31
B2
One Woman Do Right Man 3.20
B3
Show Me How 3.09
B4
Lucky Fellow 3.40
B5
Sara Lee 3.26

Tapped as the album’s only single, ‘It’s All Over‘ has always struck me as one of the set’s weakest numbers.  A hyper-sensitive, heavily orchestrated, Gospel-tinged ballad, to my ears this one almost sounded like a parody of mid-1970s soul groups with Jackson screeching in pain, begging forgiveness for a multitude of sins …  One of their rare up-tempo numbers, ‘No Wind, No Rain‘ was easily one of the album’s standout performance.  I’m not sure who handled the lead on this one, but sporting one of those melodies that climbed into your head and wouldn’t leave, this one has always reminded me of one of those fantastic Gladys Knight and the Pips hits.   Classic backing vocals to boot !  

Another one of the album’s standout performances, ‘The Same Old Way‘ deserved attention simply for the fact it was so different from their normal work.  Kicked along by a barebones bass pattern and some of Yancy’s churchy keyboards, the song offered up a tough, pounding, blues-tinged performance.  If you thought Jackson could only handle light ballads, then this was a revelation. One of two non-originals, ‘I Found Love On a Rainy Day‘ was probably the album’s most blatantly commercial offering.  Showcasing a nice melody and some beautiful backing harmony vocals, it’s always reminded me of something Thom Bell might have penned for The Spinners.  This was the track Wand should have tapped as a single.

A pretty and precious ballad, ‘The First Time We Met‘ was a much more typical Jackson-Yancy offering.  It was the perfect example of what the pair did well (showcasing another gorgeous melody and Jackson’s heart wrenching lead vocals) and their artistic shortcomings (there wasn’t a single original note over the three minutes).  Opening up with some nice Yancy keyboards, ‘In the Valley of My World‘ took awhile to get into gear, but was ultimately another winning ballad with Jackson and Thomas (?) sharing the lead vocals.  Actually Curry stole the show when her vocal came in at the end of the track. Another personal favorite, ‘One Woman Do Right Man‘ had another catchy melody, more first-rate bass, some punchy horn charts, and some great call-and-response harmonies that served to showcase the group’s sterling backing vocals.  The pounding bass opening on ‘Show Me How‘ recalled something Norman Whitefield might have written for The Temptations.   Anyone who thought these guys could only handle light ballads needs to check this one out.  Simply a killer tune.  The album’s best ballad, ‘Lucky Fellow‘ managed to avoid their usual hyper-sensitivity in favor of a charming melody and a breezy, carefree vocal.  Boy they sure knew how to churn out some wonderful harmony vocals …On the heels of their best ballad, came their worst performance – the sappy and forgettable ‘Sara Lee‘.  

——————

Among the more interesting male/female vocal groups, the Independents made some outstanding singles in the early ’70s. Chuck Jackson, Maurice Jackson, Helen Curry, and Eric Thomas specialized in almost melodramatic, overwrought, but perfectly performed love songs. Their first single for Wand, “Just as Long as You Need Me,” set the stage in 1972, reaching number eight on the R&B charts. They topped those charts in 1973 with “Leaving Me,” while “Baby I’ve Been Missing You” made it to number four. They never had any song attract much pop support, but soul fans loved the lyrical scenarios and group interplay. Their last hit was “Let This Be a Lesson to You” in 1974, another R&B Top Ten hit. Jackson and Yancy went on to attain success as a production/songwriting team, scoring hits with Ronnie Dyson and Natalie Cole.

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28 Comments
  • Mick
    Posted at 08:54h, 07 June 2012 Reply

    Oh yes – the good old times! Thank you!

  • Laurent
    Posted at 20:14h, 07 June 2012 Reply

    Merci beaucoup!

  • rich
    Posted at 20:35h, 07 June 2012 Reply

    great album post thanx nikos

  • Gustavo
    Posted at 12:32h, 08 June 2012 Reply

    Perfeita! MUITO OBRIGADO!

  • Maurice
    Posted at 23:22h, 08 June 2012 Reply

    People had something to say back then.

  • Gene
    Posted at 23:51h, 08 June 2012 Reply

    Just wonderful and soulful!

  • El capitan
    Posted at 12:17h, 09 June 2012 Reply

    Well done once more. Great blog.

  • Dorit
    Posted at 21:41h, 09 June 2012 Reply

    The sound of Soul. Great times. Thank you.

  • Trojan
    Posted at 22:48h, 10 June 2012 Reply

    Cool blog. Excellent quality of posts and rip.

  • Souling
    Posted at 08:38h, 11 June 2012 Reply

    This is when singers were SINGERS! Back then, they didn’t have the studio technology that we have today. Therefore, back then (60’s & 70’s) if you couldn’t sing, the technology wasn’t there to make you sound good…like most of these perpetrators today, who THINK they can sing.

  • willie
    Posted at 17:55h, 11 June 2012 Reply

    nice sounds and i don’t think i’ve heard of the group!. thanks for providing this.

  • Vost
    Posted at 20:45h, 11 June 2012 Reply

    This was my dad’s therapy record when I was growing up.

  • The Voice
    Posted at 08:43h, 12 June 2012 Reply

    Just enjoy the music…..The memories…..the love ……the sadness….the joy…….the sweet sound!!!!!

  • Jackie
    Posted at 08:51h, 12 June 2012 Reply

    I loved this group and all their songs. This is the music that I grew up on.

  • Dimitris
    Posted at 19:29h, 12 June 2012 Reply

    Love it love it. I haven’t heard this in years.

  • Malev
    Posted at 08:44h, 13 June 2012 Reply

    Quality. Respect.

  • M.S.
    Posted at 12:33h, 13 June 2012 Reply

    Great to hear this classic. Thanks.

  • Arnold
    Posted at 22:59h, 13 June 2012 Reply

    Delicious melodies and lush arrangements! Many thanks.

  • Dr.Who
    Posted at 09:44h, 14 June 2012 Reply

    Thank you so much for your amazing work.

  • Jordan
    Posted at 19:30h, 14 June 2012 Reply

    I loved this entire album. It is beautiful music and memories.

  • Logan
    Posted at 00:49h, 17 June 2012 Reply

    Nice LP. It deserves a cd release.

  • ZerLove
    Posted at 13:05h, 20 June 2012 Reply

    Really wicked – loved the morphology of sounds.

  • TJ
    Posted at 01:22h, 05 July 2012 Reply

    DAMN SWEET!

  • Peter
    Posted at 01:03h, 22 January 2013 Reply

    Thank you!

  • Eddie
    Posted at 17:40h, 16 February 2014 Reply

    Thanks for sharing all this great music!

  • franxusm
    Posted at 10:38h, 12 March 2014 Reply

    Thank U so much! i have this on vinyl from my parents and i ve been lookin for it since forever!

  • Unpayed Bill-Ion
    Posted at 23:48h, 23 May 2016 Reply

    Great LP! I have this on Vinyl,, too.

    Could anybody post the First Album “The Independents ‎– The First Time We Met”.

    Thx in advance!

  • Freddy Mathaba
    Posted at 20:56h, 10 February 2019 Reply

    T

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