Hard to find first LP by this east coast mixed male/female soul group that includes Zulema on vocals, along with two other singers. Production, arrangements, and a fair bit of songwriting by Van McCoy, with that good polished sound he was getting at the time.
It’s another fantastic contribution from Groovy Emmanuel who express his feelings right away:
“Well, this is the very first album by this fine Tampa trio, the one they cut for Maxwell at the eve of the 70’s. And what an album it is!!! A real joy for the ears treated magnificently by Van the man McCoy. And one out of only two albums with Zulema still in the line up.
And yeah, this is the typical story when two young Tampa school friends, Zulema and Brenda, along with old friend Albert decide, why not, to show the world their true talents of performing the music they loved, music they grew up with, and music their parents used to listen to.. And to drive the story direct to the myth, what a coincidence (!!!) when the talented trio met the master in Van the man, who was driving on the same music route, and to whom they could share the same musical taste, though a decade older (LOL.)
Yeah, I know many people have an affection to such stories, and that has to do with many debut records so far, cos these debuts have a young and fresh sound that can hardly be found in later works even these later works stand better overall. But on one condition.. As far as they can treated by men who have the ability to hear and even see the sounds. And that is the case right here. Ooh baby, I feel the earth move.”
This is a 320@ vinyl rip of the original Maxwell records LP including covers. There’s no LP reissue and never released on CD. You can buy Faith Hope & Charity vinyls here.
A1 So Much Love 3:03
A2 Something 5:15
A3 Wings of Love 7:55
A4 Let’s Try It Over 3:02
B1 Baby Don’t Take Your Love 2:48
B2 I’m Gonna Love You 2:58
B3 That Lonely Feeling 3:22
B4 Make Love to Me 3:05
B5 Johnny Come Lately 3:03
In a land called ‘soulsville’ there have been thousands of songs composed and sung by singers, songwriters and producers where they receive many accolades and praises through liner notes written on the back of album covers or CD’s, by music critics or famous entertainers.
The heart and soul of a song is not always the singer but the enriched fulfilled sounds of the session voices in which I dedicate this special written ode.
There were 3 singers who’s beautiful gospel angelic voices created a distinctive signature sound to the music of a former psychology major, songwriter/producer and arranger, the late Van McCoy. The artists were Faith Hope & Charity.
Brenda Hilliard, Zulema Cusseaux and Albert Bailey all hailed from Tampa, Florida and came together as a group in 1969. Legendary songwriter and producer Bob Crewe (who gained fame in the music industry composing tunes for groups like the Rays (Silhouettes) and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons) dubbed the group Faith Hope & Charity.
In 1970, they met Van McCoy who secured a deal with Maxwell Records and composed two of the group’s first hits ‘So Much Love’ b/w ‘Let’s Try It Over’ (No.14 R&B May 30, 1970) and ‘Baby Don’t Take Your Love’ b/w ‘Make Love To Me’ (No.36 R&B Oct 17, 1970. An LP entitled ‘Faith Hope & Charity’ was released in 1970.
Faith Hope & Charity signed with Clarence Avant’s Sussex label in 1971 and released 5 uncharted singles, ‘I Worship The Ground You Walk On’ b/w ‘Come Back And Finish What You Started’, Ghosts Keep Haunting Me’ b/w ‘No Trespassing’, ‘We Can Change The World’ b/w ‘God Bless The World’, ‘Who Could Love You More Than I’ b/w ‘I Was There’, ‘Who Made You’ b/w ‘Heavy Love (later recorded by David Ruffin in 1975). All above were written and produced by Van McCoy. Sussex released the group’s second album ‘Heavy Love’ in 1972.
Zulema Cusseaux went solo in 1971 and continued to record for Sussex. Hilliard and Bailey continued to work as a duo until 1974, when they were joined by Diane Destry.
Faith Hope & Charity signed with RCA Records in 1975 and struck gold with their masterpiece ‘To Each His Own’ b/w ‘Find A Way’. Written and produced by Van McCoy and Charles Kipps, the song zoomed to the No.1 position on Billboard’s R&B singles chart the week ending Oct 25, 1975.
The group was extremely busy lending their voices on such Van McCoy classics as ‘The Hustle’ and all of tracks on his ‘Disco Baby’ LP. ‘David Ruffin’s ‘Walk Away From Love’ and his ‘Who I’m I’ LP ‘Everything Is Coming Up Love’ including the self-titled LP. Melba Moore’s ‘This Is It’ ‘Lean On Me’ and her self-titled album ‘This Is It’. Van McCoy’s sophomore album ‘The Disco Kid’ including the hit single ‘Party’.
The musicians featured on these classics tracks were the late Richard Tee and Leon Pendarvis on keyboards, Eric Gale and David Spinozza on guitars, Gordon Edwards on bass, Arthur Jenkins and George Devens on percussions and Steve Gadd on drums. The beautiful horns and strings were arranged by Gene Orloff.
RCA released three more singles on Faith Hope & Charity, ‘Don’t Go Looking For Love’ (No. 38 R&B Feb 1976) ‘You’re My Peace Of Mind’ (No.83 R&B Sept 1976) and the gorgeous ‘Life Goes On’ (No.65 Feb 19, 1977) The ‘Life Goes On’ LP was issued in late spring of 1977.
Faith Hope & Charity departed with RCA in 1978 and signed with 20th Century. They released their forth and final LP ‘Faith Hope & Charity’ with ‘Don’t Pity Me’ b/w ‘Find What You Need’ (No.20 R&B Sept 1978) and ‘Keep Me Baby’ b/w ‘How Can I Help But Love You’. as their last single releases.
The group disbanded in 1979, around the time Van McCoy entered the gates of soul heaven on July 6, 1979.
(Soulfully Yours, Mike Boone – Chancellor of Soul)
Now, listen up “So Much Love”
You can also get Zulema‘s wonderful debut album on Sussex here.
Big Thanks to Groovy Emmanuel for sharing his vinyl collection with us and my Jamaican brother Raphy who cleaned – once again – this rip perfectly. Enjoy!!!