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Saturday, December 12, 2009


While I tend to focus on records that are relatively obscure or under appreciated on this blog, this record has been on my mind quite a bit lately and I just couldn't resist sharing it, although I would reckon most people listening and reading have heard it before. The hits were typically hits for a reason, as during this era they are almost always great songs.

Forging a partnership around 1957 as members of the Impressions (after meeting in their church choir) Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield cut the hit single "For Your Precious Love" (which added Jerry's name as billing over the Impressions) in 1958. One single later, Jerry was off on a solo career, although his partnership with Mayfield continued on, in my opinion most perfectly on this 45.

Butler's voice, as blustery as a Chicago winter wind, matched with Curtis' sweet as molasses high tenor seem an unlikely pair for harmony, but what they do on the choruses of this song are achingly, hauntingly beautiful. No surprise that this not only hit number one on the r&b charts but also crossed over to the pop top ten. An absolutely sublime record, made even more incredible by Mayfield's incredibly soulful, cautionary guitar playing which, like a third voice, tells the story along with the vocalists.

from 1960...


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