Aug 26, 2011

RhoDeo 1134 Grooves

Hello, still some more grooves to contend with here, todays band was basically a producers act, Norman Whitfield who found he needed another act despite he solely produced and co-wrote eight of their albums between 1969 and 1973. Obviously he felt creatively constrained not to mention the Temptations falling apart at that time, so by 71 he set up a new band doing much of the same work he recorded earlier but expressed very differently, no mean feat considering this act had success as well, The Undisputed Truth they were called, hmm clearly the man was born ahead of his time, he'd been a sought after remixer in the decades that followed.

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It's not exactly fair to peg the Undisputed Truth as a one-hit wonder, because they did have a few hits for Motown in the first half of the 1970s (albeit only one big one), as well as made half a dozen albums for the label. Still, it's not that far from the truth. Nothing else they did matched the strength of "Smiling Faces Sometimes," which made number three in 1971. Crafted by Norman Whitfield, Motown's most adventurous producer of the time, it employed the funk-psychedelic guitars and ominous, socially aware lyrics that were also characteristic of his work with the Temptations during the period.

Undisputed Truth came into being after Bobby Taylor brought Billie Rae Calvin and Brenda Joyce to Motown as part of the Delicates. When the Delicates broke up, the pair kept busy doing background vocals for the Four Tops, Diana Ross, and Edwin Starr. Whitfield teamed them up with Joe Harris of the Preps, Harris served as main lead singer with The Delicates, on additional leads and background vocals, laying the groundwork for the male-female vocal interplay that would typify their Motown sessions.

The group's music and unusual costuming (large Afros and white makeup) typified the then-popular trend of "psychedelic soul" which producer Norman Whitfield had inaugurated. A number of their singles became minor hits, and many of them were also songs for Whitfield's main act, The Temptations.

It's fair to say that the Undisputed Truth were little more than a mouthpiece for Whitfield. He wrote most of their material (sometimes in association with Barrett Strong), and used their sessions as a laboratory to devise funk rhythms and psychedelic guitar effects. He was doing the same thing with the Temptations, and the Undisputed Truth's records couldn't help but suffer in comparison. As vocalists they weren't in the same league as the Temps, and Whitfield was most likely reserving his real killer songs for the more famous group.

The group never approached the success of "Smiling Faces Sometimes" again, although they racked up a series of modest R&B hits through the mid-'70s. The best of these were "You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth" and the original version of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," which Whitfield would quickly redo with the Temptations for a much more definitive (and massively successful) version.

In 1975 after 6 albums at Motown The Undisputed Truth, along with Rose Royce and Willie Hutch, they followed Whitfield during his exodus from Motown to set up Whitfield Records in 1975. At this time, Calvin and Joyce left the group, and Harris was joined by new members Virginia "V" McDonald, Tyrone "Big Ty" Douglas, Tyrone "Lil Ty" Barkley, and Calvin "Dhaak" Stephenson. The group's costuming and style changed as well, becoming even more unusual and Funkadelic-influenced. It resulted in 2 more albums Method To The Madness and Smokin before the act folded in 79.

Noman Whitfield meanwhile scored a Grammy for the Carwash Soundtrack but found success in the 80's hard to come by. No need to feel sorry for the man because in 2005 he faced charges of tax evasion on more than $2 million worth of income, failing to report royalty income he earned from 1995 to 1999. He pleaded guilty but got away with house arrest as he was seriously ill because of Diabetes a disease he succumbed to 16th of september 2008.

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The Undisputed Truth is the debut album of the Motown group of the same name, released in 1971. It was produced entirely by Norman Whitfield. The album includes the group's biggest hit single (and only US Top 40 hit), Smiling Faces Sometimes, which peaked at #3. It has a dead serious beat and some strong comments about people who show their teeth all the time. Many of the songs on this album were also recorded by the group's Motown labelmates, The Temptations (also produced by Norman Whitfield). Whitfield had the creative juices flowing on "Ball of Confusion," which bounces along for more than ten minutes and is true bliss; the arrangement is totally different from the Temptations blockbuster. The sound of the album mixes the traditional Motown sound with psychedelic-infludenced soul music.

Undisputed Truth - The Undisputed Truth (71 95mb)

01 You Got The Love I Need 2:57
02 Save My Love For A Rainy Day 3:50
03 California Soul 3:45
04 Aquarius 2:39
05 Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today) 10:20
06 Smiling Faces Sometimes 3:05
07 We've Got A Way Out Love 2:55
08 Since I've Lost You 3:10
09 Ain't No Sunshine Since You've Been Gone 2:42
10 I Heard It Through The Grapevine 2:51
11 Like A Rolling Stone 6:30

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Face to Face With the Truth is the second album by The Undisputed Truth, released in 1972. Like their debut album, it was produced entirely by Norman Whitfield and most of the songs were also recorded by The Temptations, be it with different arrangements. Two singles were released from the album, both minor hits on the Billboard charts: "You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth", and "What It Is?". Face to Face With the Truth peaked at #114 on the charts, lower than their self-titled debut, yet overall it's artistically more satisfying. Side One is all remakes, but arranged totally different from their predecessors. "You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth" had all the biting commentary of "Smiling Faces Sometimes," and then some. Originally done at a faster tempo by the Temptations, Norman Whitfield slowed the pace for the Truth. Joe Harris sang with perfect diction, making the stark lyrics even more riveting, while Brenda Joyce and Billie Calvin chirped like songbirds. Likewise for "Ungena Za Ulimengu (Unite the World)," another Temptation cut that Whitfield slowed and transformed into a psychedelic mind bender. You won't recognize the arrangement of "Friendship Train," a hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips; and Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On" may come off a bit too esoteric for most. Norman Whitfield never produced a song the same way twice, and that's the undisputed truth.

The Undisputed Truth - Face To Face With ( 72 now in flac 234mb)

01 You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth 6:58
02 What It Is? 4:56
03 Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite The World) Friendship Train 8:51
04 Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are) 3:07
05 Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me 4:02
06 Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me 5:24
07 What's Going On 9:24

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Fans of the Undisputed Truth's first two albums could be shocked when they purchased Cosmic Truth. The act here consisted of Calvin Stevens, Tyrone Douglas, and Virginia McDonald. Stevens and Douglas had been members of the Magictones, the threesome joins Joe Harris for some spacy, rock-influenced, funky sounds. "UFO's" skips along with an infectious beat, a futuristic sound, and incredulous vocals from Joe Harris. Neil Young's "Down By the River" gets a soul injection, as if it needed one. Their version of "(I Know) I'm Losing You" is sung by one of the newer male members, and producer Norman Whitfield allows him to cut loose -- unusual for Whitfield, who usually demanded that his singers stick close to the melody. "Earthquake Shake" and "Got to Get My Hands on Some Lovin'" show some funky metal flavoring . The influence of Funkadelic/Parliament is becoming clear here. A route followed by the albums that came afterwards before they folded in 1979.

The Undisputed Truth - Cosmic Truth ( 75 91mb)

01 Earthquake Shake 5:49
02 Down By The River 6:29
03 UFO's 4:13
04 Lil' Red Ridin' Hood 3:59
05 Squeeze Me, Tease Me 3:55
06 Spaced Out 3:18
07 Got To Get My Hands On Some Lovin' 2:35
08 1990 3:58
09 (I Know) I'm Losing You 6:49

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Anonymous said...

Could you re-up the first album in a lossless format please?

Anonymous said...

I also have a request for a FLAC upload of The Undisputed Truth - 'Face To Face With'

Thanks Rho!

- 313


Anonymous said...

Hi Rho,

thanx a lot for your incredible work!!!

Could you please re-up the other two undisputed truth albums.