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Essential Collection - The Undisputed Truth

Essential Collection - The Undisputed Truth

1 Jan 2002
4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2002
  • Release Date: 24 Mar. 2002
  • Label: Spectrum
  • Copyright: ℗© 2002 Spectrum Music
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:15:06
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001KPTIKW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,546 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Used by producer Norman Whitfield to further expand his psychedelic-funk Motown sound in the early Seventies, the Undisputed Truth recorded one masterpiece Smiling faces sometimes and some great tracks: What it is, Law of the land, a quite different (the bass part) version of Papa was a rollin' stone and the long but thoroughly impressive You make your own heaven and hell as well as Marvin Gaye's What's going on having great instrumental final parts.
Afterwards their sound became even more heavy, boogie-oriented with space-futuristic themes, with only lead Joe Harris as mainstay. Not awful (Help yourself, Boogie bump boogie) but these tracks present a rather faceless group and pale compared to their marvelous start in 1971 where the Truth seemed to open a new chapter of socially conscious, funked up soul with great male-female vocals.
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This 2002 released Spectrum Music (Universal) compilation covers the groups period on Motown Records between 1971 - 1975, during this time they put out six studio albums. Their music is a mix of funk, soul and little bit disco, the songs vary between slow to mid tempo and hi tempo. A few of the tracks sound like typical Motown stuff with some Funkadelic/Parliament style funk thrown in and tracks 17 - 18 are discofied, these tracks are my least favourites.

As for the band, they were manufactured by Motown's producer/songwriter Norman Whitfield to counter the changes made to funk/soul, the group only had a #3 hit in the U.S. pop charts with 'Smiling Faces Sometimes' and the rest of their singles and albums charted moderately both in the pop and R & B charts.

The song 'Papa Was A Rollin' Stone' later became a big hit for The Temptations with their cover and most notably 'What It Is' became an inspiration (lyrics wise) for The Jackson 5's obscure 1973 track 'Hum Along And Dance' which is on their Get It Together album, their cover of Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' is pretty decent even though it clocks in near 9 mins 30 seconds.

As for the songs, after several spins I would say that most of the tracks (14 in total) are good and the other five did not quite click with me, hence the 4 stars. As for the compilation the notes do not tell you where the songs were culled from which albums, not much charting info and also tracks 1 and 11 were released in 1971 not 1967 as put on this compilation.

Overall if you prefer to discover hidden gems like this group then I strongly recommend this, as for the band their mentor switched over to Warner Bros Records and they released a further two more albums before disbanding, Method To The Madness (1976) and Smokin' (1979), they both got re-issued and are available on here.
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Format: Audio CD
The Undisputed Truth Essential Collection boasts some 20 tracks, but 14 of these ("You Got The Love I Need" / "You Make Your Own Heaven & Hell Right Here On Earth" / "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" / "Girl You're Alright" / "Mama I Got A Brand New Thing" / "Law Of The Land" / "I'm A Fool For You" / "Spaced Out" / "Higher Than High" / "Save My Love For A Rainy Day" / "Smiling Faces Sometimes" / "What It Is" / "Help Yourself" / "UFO's") appeared on the 1995 CD compilation of this group "Motown Milestones - Best Of The Undisputed Truth". The remaining 6 appear on CD for the first time, "Lil Red Riding Hood" & "Got To Get My Hands On Some Lovin" (from 1975's "Cosmic Truth"), "Let's Go Back To Day One" & "Gonna Keep On Tryin' Till I Win Your Love" (from "Down To Earth" (1975)), "Boogie Bump Boogie" (from "Higher Than High" (1972)) and "What's Going On" (from "Face To Face With The Truth (1972)). It does omit the U.K. single "Superstar", which did appear on Milestones, but other than that it's a very good compilation covering both incarnations of the Truth from the early Joe Harris, Billie Calvin & Brenda Evans line-up to the later Harris, Tyrone Berkeley, Tyrone Douglas, Calvin Stevens & Virginia McDonald one. This CD is recommended. It carries nearly all their hits, plus some good album tracks. It's a good history of the group in their Motown days.
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This, very reasonably priced, compilation is a worthy collection of the work of the Undisputed Truth, ranging from their early work, in the 60s, up to the mid 70s. Having 'Smilng Faces, sometimes', Papa was a rollin' stone', and 'What's going on', on it makes this compilation a worthwhile purchase for the fans of Motown, Soul, or Funk, of a certain era.
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