on 18 September 2011
The famed Motown hit songwriters and producers Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland set up their Invictus stable of labels in 1969 and hit success shortly after. This double cd contains Chairmen Of The Board's first 2 albums for Invictus along with frontman General Johnson's solo album and 4 single tracks together with group member Harrison Kennedy's solo album. There's the odd poor track (Eddie Custis leading on My Way) and perhaps Kennedy's solo tracks won't appeal to everyone. Against that are some truly sensational soul tracks which still sound superb today.
Although Danny Woods makes some fine contributions it's General Johnson's distinctive vocals that steal the show. His wistful solo Every Couple's Not A Pair is a stand out. Give Bless You an extended hearing (the b side to the UK hit single Everything's Tuesday), listen to the original version of Patches (a hit for Clarence Carter) and give I Can't Find Myself an extra play and you can see why there's more to CotB than hit singles.
Edsel have also released the other two CotB albums and Danny Wood's solo cd in a separate double cd package and deserve great praise for making the full Invictus output of the band's joint and solo efforts available with comprehensive sleeve notes from Tony Rounce.
Also available in this series are the complete Invictus/Hot Wax recordings of Laura Lee, Honey Cone, Holland-Dozier, Parliament, Freda Payne, Glass House, 8th Day, Ruth Copeland and 100 Proof Aged In Soul. Sadly, output from Eloise Laws, Barrino Brothers, New York Port Authority and a few other artists who recorded with Invictus/Hot Wax/Music Merchant has not been released. Let's hope they will be in the future and make completists like me happy.
on 15 October 2009
Demon Edsel, 2009, 2 CDs, 40 tracks
Led by singer/songwriter General Johnson, The Chairmen of the Board was created in 1969 by the trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, after their departure from Motown Records. The other members were Danny Woods, Harrison Kennedy and Eddie Custis (who left the group after the release of the second album).
The double CD comprises four albums + four singles:
THE CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARD (April 1970) - tracks 1 to 12
General Johnson GENERALLY SPEAKING (March 1972) - tracks 13 to 18
three non-album singles from General Johnson - tracks 19 to 21
IN SESSION (October 1970) - tracks 1 to 11 (Disc 2)
Harrison Kennedy HYPNOTIC MUSIC (October 1972) - tracks 12 to 18
and another b-side from General Johnson - track 19
All the songs are excellent, but the solo release from General Johnson is the strongest material here: great songs and performances, from one of the best soul singers of all times. The album has nine songs, the other three appeared on the COTB regular albums: "All We Need Is Understanding" and "Everything's Tuesday" from the second IN SESSION and "Saginaw County Line" from the third BITTERSWEET.
The non-album singles from General Johnson: "Savannah Lady", "I'm In Love Darling" and "Only Time Will Tell" (vocal and instrumental).
The solo album by Harrison Kennedy is more pop/rock, like the instrumental "Up The Organization", but there are smooth ballads like "Night Comes Day Goes" and "You Hurt Your Mother Again". The original album has more two songs: "Come Together" from the FIRST ALBUM and "Children of Today" from the second IN SESSION.
Highlights: "Patches", "You've Got Me Dangling On A String", "Every Couple's Not a Pair", "I'll Never Get Tired of You", "Mary Lou Thomas", "Everything's Tuesday", "Pay to The Piper" and "Sunday Morning People".
The sound is superb (the same remastering from the Castle 1999 edition).