on 22 May 2008
These two 1970/71 albums represented the Osmonds' first breakthrough as a Pop act in the USA, where both albums went gold. This is where Osmond-mania began, a year or so before the band broke big in Europe.
"Osmonds" and "Homemade" were never released in the UK, although between them they contain the group's American hits - "One Bad Apple" and "Double Lovin' ", as well as Donny's first US solo hit "Sweet and Innocent", presented here in stereo at last.
Both albums were produced by Soul producer Rick Hall, famed for his 'Muscle Shoals' sound. The style here is very Motown-esque and reminiscent of early Jackson Five in places, although there are some fine ballads and one or two Country-ish Pop numbers thrown in for good measure, with the Osmonds' superb vocal harmonies much in evidence.
Neither album has ever been re-issued on CD before, 'though quite how these albums have remained under lock and key for the last 35-plus years is an absolute mystery. Whether you love or hate the Osmonds, they surely earned their right to have their back-catalogue reissued on CD long before now.
Apart from the singles, a couple of surprise highlights for me are the superb version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", with Merrill's soaring vocals, and the Osmond brothers' original soul-ballad composition "Sho' Would Be Nice".
If you like Summery, breezy Seventies honest-to-goodness Pop music then grab a copy of this CD, stick it in the car stereo, wind the windows down and enjoy.
Thank heavens for 7-Tees Records, for taking the trouble to unearth these classic albums and for presenting them in crystal clear sound, with superb booklet and informative sleevenotes. Brilliant job!