Today.an American music group from Chicago, originally formed in 1958. Their repertoire includes doo-wop, gospel, soul, and R&B. The group was founded as The Roosters by Chattanooga, Tennessee natives Sam Gooden, Richard Brooks and Arthur Brooks, who moved to Chicago and added Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield to their line-up to become Jerry Butler & the Impressions. By 1962, Butler and the Brookses had departed, and after switching to ABC-Paramount Records, Mayfield, Gooden, and new Impression Fred Cash collectively became a top-selling soul act. ........N'joy
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The quintessential Chicago soul group, the Impressions' place in R&B history would be secure if they'd done nothing but launch the careers of soul legends Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. But far more than that, the Impressions recorded some of the most distinctive vocal-group R&B of the '60s under Mayfield's guidance. Their style was marked by airy, feather-light harmonies and Mayfield's influentially sparse guitar work, plus, at times, understated Latin rhythms. If their sound was sweet and lilting, it remained richly soulful thanks to the group's firm grounding in gospel tradition; they popularized the three-part vocal trade-offs common in gospel but rare in R&B at the time, and recorded their fair share of songs with spiritual themes, both subtle and overt. Furthermore, Mayfield's interest in the civil rights movement led to some of the first socially conscious R&B songs ever recorded, and his messages grew more explicit as the '60s wore on, culminating in the streak of brilliance that was his early-'70s solo work. the Impressions carried on without Mayfield, but only matched their earlier achievements in isolated instances, and finally disbanded in the early '80s.
the Impressions were formed in Chicago in 1957 as a doo wop group called the Roosters, a group of Chattanooga, TN, transplants that included vocalists Sam Gooden and brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks. Lead singer Jerry Butler joined up and soon brought in his friend Curtis Mayfield as guitarist; the two had previously sung together in a church choir and a couple of local gospel groups as youths. Renamed the Impressions by their manager, the group scored a major hit in 1958 with the classic ballad "For Your Precious Love," which hit the pop Top 20 and the R&B Top Five. Butler's gospel-inflected lead vocal was a departure from the norm, and the fact that the single billed him in front of the rest of the group foreshadowed his quick exit for a solo career, after just one more single ("Come Back My Love"). With new vocalist Fred Cash in tow, Mayfield took over the lead tenor role, eventually becoming the group's chief composer as well. First, though, he hit the road as guitarist and musical director for Butler's backing band, and also co-wrote some of Butler's earliest singles, including the R&B number one "He Will Break Your Heart" in late 1960.
Mayfield's success as a songwriter encouraged him to form his own publishing company. With the money he earned by working with Butler, he reconvened the Impressions and brought them to New York to record for ABC-Paramount in 1961. Their first single, the Latin-inflected "Gypsy Woman," was a number two R&B smash, also reaching the pop Top 20. Several follow-ups failed to duplicate its chart success, and the Brooks brothers left the group in 1962; now down to a trio, the Impressions returned to Chicago and began recording with arranger Johnny Pate, whose horn and string embellishments added a bit more heft to their sound. They struck gold in 1963 with "It's All Right," whose gospel-style lead-swapping helped make it not only their first R&B number one, but their biggest pop hit as well, with a peak of number four. The same year, they issued their eponymous first LP, which many critics still consider one of their finest. 1964 brought the hit single "Keep on Pushing," the first of Mayfield's numerous black pride anthems (though at this stage, his sentiments were much less explicit than they would later become). The album of the same name also featured a marching-beat cover of the gospel standard "Amen," inspired by the song's inclusion in the Sidney Poitier film Lilies of the Field. Gospel also informed what became perhaps the best-known Impressions hit, 1965's "People Get Ready"; if its lyrics weren't overtly political, Mayfield's intent was clear, as the song became an anthem of transcendence for the civil rights movement and an oft-covered soul standard.
The mid-'60s saw Mayfield trying to keep pace with the Motown hit factory by incorporating elements of its style into his own writing. The group recorded prolifically in 1965, but their commercial fortunes dropped off over the next couple of years. When the Impressions returned to the upper reaches of the R&B charts, it was with 1968's "We're a Winner," the most straightforward celebration of black pride Mayfield had yet composed. That summer, the group left ABC to record for Mayfield's newly formed Curtom imprint, which allowed them greater freedom in terms of the lyrical content Mayfield wanted to pursue. More aggressive message tracks like "This Is My Country," "Choice of Colors," and "Check Out Your Mind" followed over the next couple of years, as did some of the group's most consistent albums, particularly The Young Mods' Forgotten Story (1969). 1970's Check Out Your Mind was Mayfield's final album with the Impressions, but the group remained on Curtom after his departure, and he continued to write and produce some of their material.
Mayfield was replaced on lead vocals by Leroy Hutson, who debuted on LP with 1972's Times Have Changed. At this point, the Impressions were still overshadowed by their ex-leader, who was riding high with brilliant works like Superfly. But Mayfield's solo momentum cooled down a bit, and after Hutson departed in 1973, new singers Ralph Johnson and Reggie Torian joined Cash and Gooden for the R&B chart-topper "Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)," cut with ex-Motown producer Ed Townsend in 1974. Townsend continued to work with the group for the next couple of years with some success, but in 1976 Johnson left to join the unsuccessful Mystique. Around that point, the Impressions parted ways with Curtom; Nate Evans replaced Johnson, and the group recorded for Cotillion and 20th Century/Chi-Sound with little chart success. Evans eventually departed, leaving the group a trio again. They recorded their final album, Fan the Fire, in 1981; Gooden and Cash occasionally reunited with Mayfield and sometimes Butler for touring commitments. Mayfield was paralyzed in a heartbreaking stage accident in 1990, when a lighting scaffold toppled over on him; he passed away in 1999.
In July 2013, The Impressions released "Rhythm!," their first single in over thirty years, on Daptone Records. The 7" record featured original members Fred Cash, Sam Gooden, and Reggie Torrian and was produced by Binky Griptite, guitarist for The Dap Kings. "Rhythm!" was originally penned by Curtis Mayfield in the mid-sixties. The B-Side, "Star Bright," was written by Binky Griptite.
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A reissue that combines 1967's The Fabulous Impressions and 1968's We're a Winner onto one CD. Although The Fabulous Impressions was a solid enough soul record on its own merits, it's not one of the more notable entries in the Impressions' catalog. There aren't any big hits, although a couple cuts, "You Always Hurt Me" and "I Can't Stay Away From You," were modest R&B charters. At times it seemed that Mayfield was trying to follow in Motown's footsteps, as on "You Always Hurt Me" and "You Ought to Be in Heaven." "It's All Over" is the Impressions' version of a song that had already been a hit for Walter Jackson, and the cover of Gene McDaniels' "One Hundred Pounds of Clay" (the only selection not written by Mayfield) is filler. The above comments might lead you to believe this album is worse than it actually is; it's dependable, enjoyable, quality soul, with "Isle of Sirens" recalling earlier efforts like "Gypsy Woman" and "She Don't Love Me" offering a chunkier and tougher approach than their typical heartfelt optimism. While the title track of We're a Winner was one of Mayfield's classic civil rights-conscious anthems, most of this album was actually dedicated to standard romantic themes. Almost every cut was a quality Mayfield original, and the harmonies and vocal interplay among the group were outstanding. "Nothing Can Stop Me," which had been a hit in 1965 for Gene Chandler, was an up-tempo highlight, and "Little Brown Boy" showed more of the African-American pride that had been explored in "We're a Winner," albeit in a more tender ballad mode. The closing cover of "Up Up and Away" is misplaced, but overall this is one of the better Impressions albums to pick up if you want more than what's found on the greatest-hits collections..
The Impressions - The Fabulous Impressions + We're A Winner (flac 325mb)
The Fabulous Impressions
01 You Always Hurt Me 2:17
02 It's All Over 3:07
03 Little Girl 2:27
04 100 Lbs. Of Clay 2:22
05 Love's A Comin' 2:30
06 You Ought To Be In Heaven 2:39
07 I Can't Stay Away From You 2:35
08 Aware Of Love 2:30
09 Isle Of Sirens 2:58
10 I'm Still Waitin' 2:35
11 She Don't Love Me 2:40
We're A Winner
12 We're A Winner 2:22
13 Moonlight Shadows 3:08
14 Let Me Tell The World 3:10
15 I'm Getting Ready 2:30
16 Nothing Can Stop Me 2:40
17 No One To Love Me 2:30
18 Little Brown Boy 2:35
19 I Loved And I Lost 3:10
20 Romancing To The Folk Song 2:35
21 Up Up And Away 2:55
The Impressions - The Fabulous Impressions + We're A Winner (ogg 133mb)
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Despite a few indications to the contrary, the Impressions' first record for Curtis Mayfield's new label, Curtom, didn't make for a large leap from their most recent work at ABC (1968's We're a Winner). The cover photo was radical enough, featuring the trio standing in front of a decrepit building (which shifted the meaning of the title from pride to accusation). Most of the arrangements were tight late-'60s soul rather than '50s doo wop, and the group spent less time harmonizing than before. Still, there were only two message tracks: the title track, which stood up for blacks' place in America, and an impassioned plea for education titled "They Don't Know." For the most part, Curtis Mayfield continued to investigate the vagaries of love and relationships, with the bombastic hit "Fool for You" leading the way. "Stay Close to Me" is a bright, bouncy track, more Motown than Chicago soul but as tight and joyous as some of the Impressions' other great material. The chugging ballad "Love's Happening" is another solid performance, while "I'm Loving Nothing" is utter heartbreak. Two of the minor songs featured writing co-credits from Donny Hathaway, then recording for Curtom with the Mayfield Singers.
The title read like a concept album (and the opener seemed to introduce a larger idea at work), but The Young Mods' Forgotten Story hung together only as the usual (read: brilliant) late-'60s LP from the Impressions: a few solid songs with a social or inspirational viewpoint and the rest featuring Curtis Mayfield's continuing exploration of love in all its forms. Two of the message songs were among the best of the group's history; "Choice of Colors" tenderly investigated black feelings about race, while the party song "Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)" gave blacks and whites a rare chance to celebrate empowerment together. Mayfield's romantic songs ranged farther than usual, from the innocent, delicate "The Girl I Find" (complete with turtledove cries) to a deconstruction of the end of a long affair ("Seven Years") to the overbearing "Jealous Man," all with great arrangements provided by veteran Johnny Pate and newcomer Donny Hathaway. (Hathaway's addition didn't alter the Impressions' sound significantly, though his harmonic expertise and affinity for the church do find their way into a couple of tracks.) Only one song, "Wherever You Leadeth Me," found the group treading water (it could just as easily have appeared five years earlier). The rest was intriguing late-'60s soul from one of the best acts in the business.
The Impressions - This Is My Country/The Young Mod's Forgotten Story (flac 327mb)
This Is My Country
01 They Don't Know 2:48
02 Stay Close To Me 2:02
03 I'm Loving Nothing 2:28
04 Love's Happening 3:07
05 Gone Away 3:45
06 You Want Somebody Else 3:12
07 So Unusual 2:57
08 My Woman's Love 3:01
09 Fool For You 2:54
10 This Is My Country 2:49
The Young Mod's Forgotten Story
11 The Young Mods' Forgotten Story 2:02
12 Choice Of Colors 3:21
13 The Girl I Find 2:40
14 Wherever You Leadeth Me 2:36
15 My Deceiving Heart 2:53
16 Seven Years 2:25
17 Love's Miracle 2:27
18 Jealous Man 2:39
19 Soulful Love 2:34
20 Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey) 2:22
The Impressions - This Is My Country/The Young Mod's Forgotten Story (ogg 127mb)
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