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8th Day, The - The 8th Day

8th Day, The - The 8th Day

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Genre: soul
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title:  8th Day
Company: Invictus
Catalog: ST 7306
Year: 1972
Country/State: Detroit, Michigan
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: --
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 273
Price: $40.00

Folks remember Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland for their musical talents as writers, producers, and arrangers. What's frequently overlooked is their business talents. Along those lines, 
The 8th Day stand as a perfect example of how innovative the Holland-Dozier-Holland team could be when it came to marketing and the business side of things. 

Without wasting a lot of time, when the Holland-Dozier-Holland team left Motown in 1968, they quickly set up their own labels - Invictus (distributed by Capitol) and Hot Wax which was affiliated with Buddah. By 1970 both labels had enjoyed a string of hits; Hot Wax scoring with the likes of The Flaming Embers, Honey Cone, and 100% Proof Aged In Soul. The latter enjoyed a substantial hit with the single 'Somebody's Been Sleeping In My Bed' and when radio stations began fishing around for a follow-on single, they latched on to the song 'She's Not Just Another Woman'. Concerned that releasing another 100% Aged In Soul single would cannibalize sales of the group's first single, H-D-H decided to release 'She's Not Just Another Woman' on Invictus with a credit to a different band - in this case The 8th Day. 

- 1971's 'She's Not Just Another Woman' b/w 'I Can't Fool Myself' (Invictus catalog number Is 9087) # 11 pop; # 3 R&B

The only problem came when the song began picking up airplay and H-D-H found themselves with a top-20 hit, but no band to promote it.

That small issue didn't stop them from releasing two follow-up charting singles:

- 1971's 'You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk)' b/w 'It's Instrumental To Be Free (instrumental)' Invictus catalog number IS 9098) # 28 pop; # 3 R&B
- 1971's "I Could See the Light' b/w 'I Could See the Light (instrumental)' (Invictus catalog number IS 9107) # 79 pop; 27 R&B

At that point H-D-H decided to recruit a band centered around Detroit singer Melvin Davis and release an 8th Day album. Davis had previously released a string of solo efforts and had worked for H-D-H recording demo material for several years. Several of those earlier "guide" tracks (Davis was reportedly paid $100 per song), subsequently appeared on the 8th Day debut LP. With production credited to Holland-Dozier-Holland, the cleverly titled "8th Day" pulled together the first two singles (for some reason the third single 'I Could See the Light' wasn't included);. Those tracks were bolstered by what appeared to be two more tracks from the 100 Proof Aged In Soul LP - 'Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)' and 'I've Come to Save You'. The track line up was rounded out by two tracks from a Melvin Davis single ('I'm Worried' and 'Just As Long') and what appeared to be a couple of new studio efforts. Interestingly, although they weren't credited with any of the material, the sound on many of these songs was pure H-D-H (the absence of songwriting credits probably a result on ongoing litigation with Motown). Davis was the real find here, with one of the best voices to ever work with H-D-H and Tony Newton's bass lines were simply fantastic - check out his work on 'You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk)', or 'I'm Worried'.

- As far as I can tell 'She's Not Just Another Woman' was the same track as found on 100 Proof Aged In Soul's debut LP. It sure sounded the same to my ears. The funny thing is that regardless of which band was dong it, the songs was a very strange effort to be found on Invictus. Whereas most Invictus releases had a bright, commercial tinge, powered by Steve Mancha's growling voice, this one had a seriously deep, old-school soul edge. That's not to take anything away from the song which was simply great and a well deserved hit for the group (be it 100 Proof Aged In Soul, or The 8th Day).   rating: **** stars
- A far more typical H-D-H / Invictus release, 'You've Got To Crawl Before You Walk' blended smooth soul, clever lyrics, and a highly commercial edge ... Kicked along by Melvin Davis' great voice, the title track refrain was irresistible. Gawd I love this kind of stuff.   rating: **** stars
- Another track borrowed from 100 Proof Aged In Soul, some folks will argue 'Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)' was too formulaic and cute for its own good and while I can understand the perspective, I'll argue this was actually one of their better performances. Yeah, the lyrics were definitely on the cutesy side, but the cooking analogies were nothing less than hysterical and the song had another irresistible hook. rating: **** stars
- The title was pretty lame, but otherwise 'La-De Dah' had a charming Sam Cooke feel. With a breezy, melody and a gutsy vocal , it would have made a nice summertime single. rating: **** stars
- The first modest disappointment, 'Enny Meeny-Miny-Mo' found the H-D-H pushing the formula just a bit too far. Yeah, the title refrain was catchy in a bubblegum-pop kind of way and the scratch guitar was wonderful, but the rest of the song sounded like a third-rate attempt to do a James Brown cover. Curiously Invictus tapped this one as a single. rating: *** stars
- Apparently a Melvin Davis solo side, opening up with some breezy keyboard and Steve Cropper-styled guitar, 'Just As Long ' was a surprisingly enjoyable, if lightweight ballad. It would have been even better without the flute solo and the sappy, extended spoken word segments. Unfortunately, by the time Davis' vocal actually kicked in (a full two minutes into the song), chances are you'd already lost interest in the tune. rating: *** stars
- The album's best ballad, ' I Can't Fool Myself' had a great melody and a pleading edge that sounded a bit like something The Stylistics might have cut. rating: **** stars
- Davis' extended spoken word vamps at the start and end of the song were a complete bore ... no wonder the woman left him (and he smoked too boot !) So here's the funny thing ... When Davis stopped talking and started singing the track went from mega cheesy to killer old scool ballad. Add in Tony Newton's bass line and this was an album highlight. One of those songs you can't shake out of your head. rating: **** stars
- The third "borrowed" 100 Proof Aged In Soul selection, 'I've Come To Save You' was another impressive soul ballad. In the process it was probably the song that most clearly distinguished the differences between Steve Mancha and Melvin Davis voices. In this case Mancha's voice was mucg gruffer and soulful than Davis' performances. rating: **** stars

As mentioned, in addition to the two earlier singles, the album spun off a follow-on single and a Melvin Davis solo 45:

- 1972's 'Enny Meeny-Miny-Mo' b/w 'Rocks In My Head' (Invictus catalog number IS 9117) # 29 R&B

credited to Melvin Davis:
- 1972's 'I'm Worried' b/w 'Just As Long' (Invictus catalog number Is 9115)

While you couldn't call it one of the best Invictus LPs, given the album's fractured birth, the overall results were surprisingly good. The "band' apparently did a bit of local touring, but never jelled, leading to a spat of personnel changes. Propelled by the singles the parent album proved a decent seller, hitting # 131 on the US pop charts and # 42 on the R&B charts. It probably would have done even better with a less obnoxious cover.

"8th Day" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) She's Not Just Another Woman (Clyde Wilson - Ronald Dunbar) - 3:13
2.) You've Got To Crawl Before You Walk (Angelo Bond - Greg Perry - General Johnson - Ronald Dunbar) - 2:55
3.) Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup) (Ronald Dunbar - Angelo Bond - E. Wayne) - 2:40
4.) La-De Dah (G. Plummer - Ronald Dunbar) - 2:50
5.) Enny Meeny-Miny-Mo (Three's a Crowd) (Ronald Dunbar - Angelo Bond) - 2:20

(side 2)
1.) Just As Long (R. Stringer - Ronald Dunbar) - 7:29
2.) I Can't Fool Myself (Angelo Bond - Greg Perry - General Johnson) - 3:26
3.) I'm Worried (Ronald Dunbar) - 8:24
4.) I've Come To Save You (Clyde Wilson) - 2:54
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