Expansion records compilation album featuring 17 tracks by General Johnson & Chairmen Of The Board
Motown’s legendary songwriting/production team, Holland-Dozier-Holland, left the fold in 1967, to establish their own Invictus/Hot Wax group of labels. They had worldwide hits with their flagship act, Chairmen Of The Board, debuted the first album by Parliament, as well as scoring a UK #1 with Freda Payne’s ‘Band of Gold…
This installment in the popular 100 Hits series contains 100 classic Soul stompers featuring artist Al Wilson, Dobie Gray, Jackie Wilson, Chairmen of the Board, Willie Kendrick, Robert Knight, Barbara Acklin, Laura Greene, Barbara Lynn, Jimmy Radcliffe and many others.
Funk came of age in the 1970s when a term used in jazz circles for the previous two decades crossed over to the dancefloor. Our 16 slices are served up by acts ranging from Parliament -one of the genre's undisputed trendsetters, led by the irrepressible George Clinton- to Afro-rockers Osibisa and Cymande, taking in acts as diverse as girl group Honeycone and legendary 'Hustle' hitmakers The Fatback Band. Chairmen of the Board are one of five artists featured from the Invictus/Hot Wax stable, founded by the writing/production trio of Holland, Dozier and Holland. They struck out on their own after scoring hits with innumerable Motown acts; you can hear a touch of Stevie Wonder in 'Finders Keepers'. From Detroit we travel to New Jersey for our collection's title track, performed by female vocal duo Positive Force, which wrote their name in the last UK chart of the decade. If it's dance music with a heavy bass line and layered guitar, keyboard and vocals you're after, look no further - 'We Got The Funk'!
Released by the U.K.’s Edsel label in 2011, this compilation has a title that is somewhat misleading. The Best of the Arista Years contains Showmen and Chairmen of the Board leader General Johnson's self-titled 1976 album – co-produced with Rick Chertoff – in its entirety. The remainder of the disc consists of the disco version of one of the album’s A-sides, “Don’t Walk Away,” the B-side “Ready Willing and Able,” the 12” version of the 1977 single “Let’s Fool Around,” and the 12” disco version of another 1977 single, “Can’t Nobody Love Me Like You Do.” While none of it quite matches Johnson’s best moments with Chairmen of the Board, it’s all sturdy, disco-laced mid-‘70s soul, comparable to what the likes of Willie Hutch and Johnny Bristol were releasing at the time. Each one of the A-sides impacted the R&B chart, with the Top 25 “All in the Family” the most successful of all. This is likely the first time any of the material has appeared on compact disc.
As soul music moved into the early '70s, it became dominated by smoother sounds and polished productions, picking up its cues from Motown, Chicago soul, and uptown soul. By the beginning of the decade, soul was fracturing in a manner similar to pop/rock, as pop-soul, funk, vocal groups, string-laden Philly soul, and sexy Memphis soul became just a few of the many different subgenres to surface. Often, the productions on these records were much more polished than '60s productions, boasting sound effects, synthesizers, electric keyboards, echoes, horn sections, acoustic guitars, and strings.
The liner notes that accompany this collection note that '70s soul music has never really gotten its due. One could argue that point for days, but hubris aside, there's no denying that Can You Dig It pays serious homage to the golden years of American soul. The new box set contains 6 CDs and 136 cuts, 65 of which hit the No. 1 spot on the R&B and/or pop charts. As you'd expect with a project that mines such a rich era (the CDs are compiled chronologically), it represents a who's who of stars. Among the notables: Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, the Spinners, the O'Jays, the Staple Singers, James Brown, Chairmen of the Board, Laura Lee, Freda Payne, and Jean Knight. Lesser lights also get to shine, i.e., El Chicano, who deliver the salsafied hippie anthem "Tell Her She's Lovely." But let's be honest–the selling point is the hits, and from the uplifting "Ooh Child" to the sassy "Want Ads," if you grew up in the '70s (hands up), then these tracks are beloved. Sure, the hard-core fan will probably wish for more obscurities, and the exclusion of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and George Clinton is troublesome, but anyone wanting an at-home jukebox loaded with classic R&B will certainly dig this.