Tellin' It Like It Is: The Mala Sessions

The Van Dykes

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Tellin' It Like It Is: The Mala Sessions Review

by Richie Unterberger

This is, in fact, a CD reissue of their 1966 Bell album Tellin' It Like It Is with bonus tracks. Yet it also serves as a simultaneous best-of and an "everything you need to hear by" comp, since the group was active for such a short time, and that LP contained most of their recordings. The Van Dykes were unabashedly derivative of the Impressions and were imitating the kinds of records the Impressions had done two or three years before the Van Dykes cut their own sides, at that. That made them a bit anachronistic even in their own time, and like most such imitative artists, not nearly as significant as their prototypes. That doesn't mean that this isn't good, if somewhat second-tier, soul. Rondalis Tandy had one of the highest and most resonant falsettos in soul music and had a good knack for penning Curtis Mayfield-like tunes. The four bonus cuts include the non-LP B-sides "Save My Love for a Rainy Day" and "A Sunday Kind of Love," as well as a couple of previously unreleased cuts that have an old-school harmony soul aura similar to the rest of their output.

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