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Chi-Lites, The "Chi-Lite" (LP)
 

Chi-Lites, The "Chi-Lite" (LP)

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Condition: Used
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Genre: soul
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title:  Chi-Lites
Company: Brunswick
Catalog: BL 754197
Year: 1973
Country/State: Chicago, Illinois
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: 2" seam split along top right edge
Available: 1
Catalog number: 106
Price: $18.00

In spite of the loss of Credal Jones to ongoing drug problems, 1973''s "Chi-Lites" saw Robert Lester, Eugene Record and Marshall Thompson continue their concerted efforts to dominate mid-1970s pop and soul charts. I'll readily admit the album (their second release within twelve months), wasn't particularly original or different from anything they had released over the previous four years. Nevertheless, it may be my favorite Chi-Lites LP ... Produced and largely written by Record, this wasn't a major departure from the group's signature sound, but it stood as a prime example of Record and his cohorts cruising on all their creative cylinders. While the material remained heavily ballad oriented (there were four up-tempo numbers including the irresistible 'I Forgot To Say I Love You Till I'm Gone'), there simply wasn't one bad song on this album !!! How often can you say that about a collection? And what can you say about Record's voice - the man was simply gifted with one of the best falsettos in soul. So how do you pick a favorite off of this set ? Tough, but if you push me in a corner I'll give the nod to the lead-off ballad 'Homely Girl'.

- Who would have imagined The Chi-Lites carving out a country-tinged soul groove ? Well, thanks to country music DJ Stan McKenny who co-wrote the track with Record, on 'Homely Girl' they managed to do it with simply dazzling results. Showcasing some typical Record heartbreak lyrics and one of his breeziest melodies, this was simply sweet without a hint of cheesy ... The song was tapped as the third single from the LP. rating: **** stars
- I've always wished I could play the pounding bass figure that keeps 'Go Away Dream' on track. With a mesmerizing title track chorus, you were left to wonder how Record managed to make it all sound so effortless ? rating: **** stars
- One of two tracks co-written by Record and Barbara Acklin, 'Too Good To Be Forgottin'' found the group pushing towards a more pop direction. Tight horns and some funky Moog synthesizer made this one a lot of fun. rating: **** stars
- They didn't do it very often, but as demonstrated by 'I Found Sunshine', when The Chi-Lites went up-tempo and funky they were amazing. Another track kicked along by bouncy Moogs, this one was tapped as the second single off the album. rating: ***** stars
- It simply doesn't get much more old-school than this ... With it's heavily orchestrated opening, spoken word introduction and heartbreak lyric, 'I Never Had It So Good (and Felt So Bad)' was simply classic Chi-Lites ballad territory. Was there another mid-1970s soul group that could nail harmony vocals like these guys ? rating: **** stars
- Yeah, it was another patented Chi-Lites ballad, but you had to admit Record's lyrics were quite clever and entertaining. How many of us have wished something similar to these sentiment ? rating: **** stars
- In a perfect world Brunswick would have tapped 'I Forgot To Say I Love You Till I'm Gone' as a single. Simply one of the catchiest things and most pop-oriented things Record ever wrote - every time I hear this track it sticks in my head for a week. rating: ***** stars
- Yeah, I'd give the nod to The Spinners version simply because it had a slightly more up-tempo arrangement. That said, the harmony vocals on this version are mesmerizing. rating: **** stars
- One of two non-originals, 'Bet You'll Never Be Sorry' was actually a nice performance with an easy going melody and a catchy chorus, but it couldn't quite match up with the rest of the collection. rating: ** stars
- Picked as the leadoff single, given the title I always found it interesting that radio would have touched this one ... Course, propelled by some tough Memphis-styled horns and the combination of Record's falsetto and the silky smooth backing vocals, 'Stoned Out of My Mind' was one of the album highlights. Shame it wasn't longer. rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, Brunswick management tapped the album for three singles, including a special DJ version of the third 45 ('Homely Girl')

- 1973's 'Stoned Out of My Mind' b/w 'Someone Else's Arms' (Brunswick catalog number 55500)
- 1973's 'I Found Sunshine' b/w 'Marriage License' (Brunswick catalog number 55503)
- 1973's 'Homely Girl' b/w 'I Never Had It So Good' (Brunswick catalog number 55505)
- 1973's 'Homely Girl' b/w 'Homely Girl' (Brunswick catalog number 55505DJ)

Great place to start exploring The Chi-Lites catalog. Propelled by the singles the album proved a massive R&B hit (# 3) and a decent pop seller (# 89).

"Chi-Lites" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Homely Girl (Eugene Record - Stan McKenny) - 4:10
2.) Go Away Dream (Eugene Record - Stan McKenny) - 3:40
3.) Too Good To Be Forgottin' (Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin) - 3:20
4.) I Found Sunshine (Eugene Record) - 2:50
5.) I Never Had It So Good (and Felt So Bad) (Eugene Record - Stan McKenny) - 5:00

(side 2)
1.) Marriage License (Eugene Record - Alonzo Tucker) - 5:30
2.) I Forgot To Say I Love You Till I'm Gone (Eugene Record - Stan McKenny) - 3:20
3.) One Man Band (Thom Bell - Linda Creed) - 5:00
4.) Bet You'll Never Be Sorry (Gerald Sims) - 3:20
5.) Stoned Out of My Mind (Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin) -3:00
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