Faith, Hope & Charity

Faith, Hope & Charity [1975]

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Faith, Hope & Charity is the name of the group and the album, but the auteur of this 1975 LP is Van McCoy, the soul songwriter, producer, and arranger who was riding high that year on the strength of his single "The Hustle." That single helped usher in the golden age of disco and while Faith, Hope & Charity -- the eponymous debut from the Florida trio -- wasn't written to capitalize on the success of McCoy's number one hit, it certainly comes from the same place, balancing a thick four-on-the-floor thump with lush strings and harmonies. McCoy's songs are fuller here than "The Hustle" -- that was designed as a dancefloor-filling anthem, all rhythm and simple hooks -- but the productions are often exceedingly luscious, peaking with the concluding "To Each His Own (That's My Philosophy)," a live-and-let-live rallying cry that deservedly became a number one R&B hit. "To Each His Own" is a good calling card for the pleasures within Faith, Hope & Charity, a record where the three vocalists acquit themselves well but are always in service to the rich, shimmering imagination of McCoy. [Real Gone's 2014 reissue contains three bonus tracks: an edited version of "To Each His Own" and single versions of "Find a Way" and "Don't Go Looking for Love."]

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