Little Anthony & the Imperials


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Little Anthony & the Imperials were ten years into their history when they recorded this elegant, slightly trippy pop-soul classic under the guidance of writer/producer Teddy Randazzo, who co-authored all but one of the 12 songs here and did for this quartet more or less what Jimmy Webb did for The 5th Dimension during the same period. There's nothing really psychedelic about the music here, despite its coming out in 1967 -- rather, it's a cheerful mixture of lyrical soul sounds and sunshine pop, with an understated elegance and gorgeous harmonies (and tastefully restrained horn and string parts, with the occasional flute) supporting the impassioned lead vocals by Little Anthony. The resulting album is one of the most beguilingly upbeat soul records of its period, a match and then some for anything coming out of Motown for accessibility. What's more, it hasn't lost an iota of appeal across the ensuing four decades -- even the most straightforward song here, "Hold on to Someone," which could have come from any part of their history, still sounds fresh, and the rest exudes a warm, lingering glow reflective of its era. Among the rest, "Yesterday Has Gone" is almost a soul analog to Spanky & Our Gang's "Sunday Will Never Be the Same," while "Trick or Treat"and "Lost in Love" call to mind The 5th Dimension doing just about anything well. It's worth owning any way you can get it, on LP or CD.

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