(4 / 5)
A group formed in 1964 and named after a glance at the wording on a Coke bottle label! Previously recording under the name of The Poets – for Leiber and Stoller’s Red Bird label – and as The Insiders on RCA.
Hollwood movie star Cuba Gooding’s father, Cuba Gooding Sr. was a member of the group from the early 1970s, replacing original lead singer Don McPherson who died suddenly, suffering from Leukaemia. Gooding Sr. was found dead in his car in April 2017, his death recorded as “natural causes”.
“Brotherly Love – The RCA Anthology,” is a very welcome two-CD set that traces the musical journey of one of the premier vocal groups of the ‘70s and ‘80s. This 41-track anthology was compiled by SoulMusic Records label owner David Nathan, who as a music journalist interviewed the group throughout the ‘70s. It includes all of their charted RCA singles and classic LP favourites, along with rarities including two Luther Vandross-penned songs, “What Can A Miracle Do” and “Party People”.
The original trio of Luther Simmons, Donald McPherson and Tony Silvester began achieving success after their two name changes, signing with RCA Records in 1969. The team scored the first of 17 charted singles for RCA, with 1970’s soulful ballad, “You’ve Been My Inspiration”.
Self-producing their recordings, mostly with the assistance of noted New York arranger/conductor Bert De Coteaux, the trio cut three albums “L.T.D.,” “Tasteful Soul” and “Black Seeds”, before cracking the US R&B Albums Top 10 with “Bitter Sweet.”
The timeless slow jam, “Spinning Around” gave the trio their first Top 10 R&B single and in 1972, The Main Ingredient enjoyed their first pop/soul smash with “Everybody Plays The Fool”, found here at track 15 on CD # 1. Two years later, “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonel”, from their sixth LP, “Euphrates River”, became the group’s second biggest international hit single.
The group dropped 13 studio albums between 1970 and 2011 and 32 singles between 1965 and 1990, plus a slew of compilation albums. Cuba Gooding Sr. left the group in 1977 for a solo career, signing to Motown to cut two albums. Gooding, Silvester and Simmons reunited as the Main Ingredient in 1979, and recorded two more albums, 1980’s “Ready for Love” and 1981’s “I Only Have Eyes for You” (the latter featured minor hit, “Evening of Love”).
The trio reunited for a second time in 1986, but their single “Do Me Right” disappeared without trace, and Simmons quit the group. Replaced by Jerome Jackson on the 1989 Polydor album, “I Just Wanna Love You”.
After Aaron Neville’s Top Ten revival of “Everybody Plays the Fool”, Gooding resumed his solo career and issued his third album in 1993. Silvester and Simmons re-formed the Main Ingredient in 1999, with new lead singer Carlton Blount. This line-up recorded “Pure Magic” in 2001. Tony Silvester died after a six-year struggle with multiple myeloma in November 2006, at the age of 65, and original member Luther Simmons retired shortly after.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’