Looking back on this album brings back so many great memories of my childhood as this is the type of music my parents, aunts, uncles and older siblings exposed me to and I THANK GOD FOR THAT! The Impressions are my favorite group from the decade of the 1960's, they had a style and charisma that was uniquely their own and this helped them to a multitude of hit R&B & Pop singles, to being one of, if not, the most important musical voices of the Civil Rights Movement and induction into both the Vocal & Rock & Roll Halls of Fame. They were also one of the few Non Motown, Stax or Chess Records groups and or artists to make such a profound impact on music during that time as most of the more relevant R&B acts were to be found on one of those 3 labels at the time.
They were truly one of the groups whose songs not only made wonderful contributions to music but also helped, in many ways, shape the society they lived in. Their songs became the rallying cry of the Civil Rights Movement which, at the time of the release of this album, was in full swing with devastating losses already having been dealt to the both the movement and it's leadership. Many a singer and or songwriter picked up the pen and grabbed their guitars and began learning how to express themselves via the song after listening to the masterful way Mayfield used these tools to inspire and provoke thoughts of self worth, love and consciousness to the masses. While at the same time writing some of the most heartfelt love songs and poetry to ever been penned or recorded.
Songs like "Stay Close To Me"; "Gone Away" & "You Want Somebody Else" shows Mayfield's poetic love & heartbreak side while the title track brings the social consciousness side, of which he was a master, to front and center stage. This album also features collaborations with a young Donny Hathaway who had signed with Curtis' "Curtom" Record label and the label on which this album was released. This also displays another part of Mayfield's genius in that he was one of the few black artists, Sam Cooke & Ray Charles being the others, who had total control over his creative property and he and Cooke where the only 2 that had their own labels. Another reason why Curtis was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.
This album and the others made in that 60's reaffirms the greatness of this group and why their music will live on into eternity. Their music and success are testaments to what hard work, dedication and perseverance are all about. They are deserving of every accolade given and need to even more recognized for the incredible contributions made to both their generation and the ones that have and will come after.