August 26, 1972: L.J. Reynolds & Chocolate Syrup, The Main Ingredient, Chicago, Three Dog Night, Van Morrison


L.J. REYNOLDS & CHOCOLATE SYRUP: The Penguin Break Down (Law-Ton).
Remember the other week I told you how the Younghearts’ “Oo La We” was soon to be one side of an up-coming double-A British single on Avco? Well, this here is the other A-side. Arranged and produced by Bobby Martin, the Philadelphian who arranged Cliff Nobles’ classic “The Horse“, this instrumental is exactly the same idea as that earlier 1968 smash. Just as “The Horse” was, perversely, the instrumental backing-track to a vocal (“Love Is All Right“), so this is the backing-track to “What’s A Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You)” on the other — I hesitate to say the flip! — side. However, I get the impression that this time it was the “Penguin Break Down” side which was intended as the plug side all along. It certainly owes a debt to “The Horse”, which remains one of the all-time best-ever R&B dance instrumentals, so that that is in no way a bad thing. You can hear it yourselves soon, too.

THE MAIN INGREDIENT: Everybody Plays The Fool (RCA).
Snorting its way up the US Pop Charts is the Main Ingredients’ lovely new slow Soul Vocal Group beauty, arranged and conducted by my old acquaintance, Bert de Coteaux. When I knew him eight years ago, at a time when his main claim to fame was that he’d arranged some sides for Adam Wade, Bert was calling himself by his full name, Norbert. Years pass and talent will out — Bert’s certainly has. After a long string of hits in recent years, Bert’s’ new addition to the list is set apart from the run-of-the-mill Soul slowies by an arrangement which makes a catchy feature of plopping congas/bongos and a tootling flute figure which on its brief appearance is enough to nag its way into American record- buyers’ minds. Add some plinky strings and a perpetually shaking tambourine — oh, and brass-accentuated smooth- and-rough group vocalizing —and you’ve got a hit sound.

CHICAGO: Saturday In The Park (Columbia).
It’s been a long wait, but finally Chicago have re-emerged with not only something new on single, but also something really good again. Their sound has mellowed a lot: the brass is still there, blowing away in quiet unison behind the dominating beat pattern, which is set up by a heavy bass, plonkingly melodic (almost Carole Kingish) piano, just-right drum fills, and the rhythm-riding (at times, rhythm- creating) vocals. This is amongst the group’s very best work, making a very satisfying single. Continue reading “August 26, 1972: L.J. Reynolds & Chocolate Syrup, The Main Ingredient, Chicago, Three Dog Night, Van Morrison”