Thursday, September 15, 2016

Love music (The Four Tops) (LP 42-43)

The Four Tops Keeper of the Castle (Vinyl - Probe, 1972) *****
The Four Tops Meeting of the Minds (Vinyl - Probe, 1974) *****

Genre: Soul

Places I remember: Marbecks Record Shop (stickers on the albums!)

Fab, and all the other pimply hyperboles: These songs instantly put a smile on my face - Love Music, Ain't No Woman, One Chain are just the heaviest hitters on two classic albums.

Gear costume: Keeper of the Castle bookends that album superbly. Midnight Flower on Meeting...Minds is another beautifully sung Four Tops effort.

Active compensatory factors: Yes, I gave these albums classic five star status!

You're probably wondering what's going on - The Four Tops is the group who had all those great hits of the sixties on Motown: I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch); Reach Out, I'll Be There; It's The Same Old Song; Baby, I Need Your Loving and on and on.

You're right, they are, but...the story doesn't stop there. By no means were they washed up as the seventies started.

When they moved to ABC-Dunhill/Probe, the hits kept coming and the quality did NOT diminish. In fact - as an album band - they only got better!!

Writer/producers Denis Lambert and Brian Potter took over the roles previously held by the immortal Holland/Dozier/Holland and did a mighty job.

They also allowed The Four Tops' social conscience to emerge. The cover painting to Keeper has a lovely mansion on the front cover. The back cover has a black American family living in a dilapidated version of the same mansion! 

Keeper of the Castle, and Love Music most successfully merge the social commentary with great music.

And then there's the singing! Levis Stubbs is in his usual peerless form but the harmonies also lock in right from the off. It's transcendent music!

Where do they all belong? Marvin Gaye and The Temptations.

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