Monday, 25 August 2008

Major Lance - Now Arriving

68.3 MB
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Motown S7-751R1

If you've read the previous post or followed the links to his bio therein, you're aware of Major Lance's history and how his career was interrupted (well, basically ended) when he was busted dealing coke. That occurred the same year this LP came out, which (like the Garnett Mimms posted here a while back) was the first full-length of new material from the soulster in a decade. It's a hodge-podge affair and a little uneven, but there are some nice grooves in there as his classic Chicago soul gets an updating that isn't quite full-on disco or funk but has enough of both to pass for either in '78. Having another Mayfield grad and childhood buddy named Otis Leavill on board helped as well.

Major's voice had matured well and sounds less overtly like Jackie Wilson, having that smokey quality which creeps in with life experience. Unfortunately, the material is so-so and most of the arrangements non-descript. Normally that would highlight his vocal talent but here it just works against Major's favour and dilutes his contributions. If he had a proper manager (and looking over his career path it seems fairly plain that wasn't the case), he would have likely made a decent quiet storm jam or got into some smooth jazz crooning because this not only isn't the best showcase for his qualities, it simply got lost in the glut of disco cash-ins that was flooding the market at the same time.

1 I Never Thought (I'd Be Losing You)
2 Wild & Free
3 Chicago Disco
4 Do The Mess Around
5 How My Love Goes
6 Think About The Love We Had
7 Troubles
8 Love Pains
9 It's All Over

AMG Review by Andrew Hamilton

Major scored a series of hits on the Okeh label, most written by his childhood friend Curtis Mayfield. He does Mayfield's "Wild & Free" but fails to outshine the original. The best songs on Now Arriving are the two party jams, "Chicago Disco," and "Do the Mess Around"; you can do a mean Errol Flynn on the latter. The single "I'd Never Though" has no bite and little charm, but he displays his versatility on Harry Belafonte's "Troubles." The rest is unmemorable.

Soundological offers you a chance to see if your memory will be any different HERE or HERE.


Rare---1 said...

um um um um .. Wild & Free.. great post thanks


spent an evening with him in the 70,s before he was due to go to the TORCH club-northern soul venue
he was great company but smashed out of his tree than!
bloody drugs,rob us of most of our heroes!
many thanks for this drop!

cheeba said...

You're both welcome!

Alex, that must have been a trip! I grew up in the 80s dreaming of going to the Torch or the Casino or the 100. It must have been incredible!

I know exactly what you mean about the drugs. I used to hang out with performers I opened for as a DJ or interviewed for the paper. Let's just say a lot of them were messed on chemicals. Needless to say, most of them have dropped off the radar completely. The ones who didn't touch or just enjoyed a few bevvys are still going strong.


hey cheeba,
i was also priveledged to meet swamp dogg(jerry wiliams)what a guy!-great bloke!
last of the soul men along with bobby womack who i adore!
seen alot of our heroes over the years but general johnson one of the TOP men !

cheers m8

djandpete said...

great album thank you

cheeba said...

Thanks djandpete and Alex. Happy to hear there's a few Northern Soul fans enjoying this stuff. More of it to come in the future!