Thursday, May 29, 2014

Forgotten Music Thursday: The Dynamics - First Landing (LP- 1969) (CD- 2007)

This review was originally posted on May 1, 2007 and has been revised for today. Hacktone Records' website is still online but unfortunately it does not appear they have released anything in quite a few years.
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Indie label Hacktone Records described themselves as "Musical revisionaries who rescue albums unjustly languishing in obscurity" because "some records just don't deserve their fate." Hacktone takes pride in releasing older music that has either long been forgotten or never got its due the first time around.

A prime example is First Landing, the debut album by R&B vocal group The Dynamics. Their first of two LPs was released in 1969 and it appeared on CD for the first time ever in 2007.

The Dynamics were a Detroit quartet who did not record for the giant Motown hit factory. Instead, their manager, Ted White, Aretha Franklin's husband, moved the singers to Memphis, and as he did with Franklin he put a bunch of all-star, Memphis, studio musicians behind them. Visualize The Temptations recording at Atlantic or Stax instead of Motown and you'll understand the sound of this album. The group was smoother than most Memphis acts but grittier (thank goodness) than Gamble and Huff's Philly soul. The sessions produced twelve top notch songs with perfect background harmonies supporting three lead vocalists who alternate between falsetto on the ballads and R&B shouting on the uptempo and dance tunes.

The album was produced by Tommy Cogbill and Chips Moman who worked with Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings, and a whole lot more. It's obvious that the quartet was highly regarded and slated for the big time.

The album's best known tune, "Ice Cream Song" did well on the R&B charts but nothing else ever came close to matching it's success. The rave-up cover of Motown's "Since I Lost You" is a highlight as are "Dum-De-Dum" and "Ain't No Sun."

The Dynamics released a second album in 1973 but were never heard from again. That is unfortunate because they deserved to be stars. They could sing and harmonize with the best the genre had to offer.

Readers old enough to remember July 1969 may take note of the album cover and its title referencing the Apollo 11 Moon landing of that year.

This classic R&B album can be heard in its entirety here.

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