First Class – 1976 – Going First Class + Bonus

Here’s another sweet soul must have album with very unique style.

Those who like groups like Black Ivory, Main Ingredient, Blue Magic, O’Jays or Stylistics, do not miss this one. It is special.

First Class, from Baltimore, only received sporadic play in the South and Midwest and next to nothing west of the Mississippi River. They were mainly popular in Philly, Jersey, New York City, and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area.

They recorded a few singles for Three Way, Today, Ebony Sound – most of them are including here as bonus – and then signed to All Platinum Records for their 1st album “Going First Class”

Tracks
A1 This Is It 6:27
A2 Filled With Desire 3:45
A3 Me And My Gemini 6:25
B1 Lady Of The Evening 5:28
B2 I’ve Got You / No Room For Another 3:35
B3 Foxy Lady 4:06
B4 Let’s Make Love 4:08

Bonus Tracks
1. What Is Life 4.01
2. What About Me 3.16
3. The Beginning Of The End 3.31
4. Don’t Know What You’re Doing 3.27
5. Baby (So Glad I’ve Got You) 4.20
6. Give Him Up 3.12
7. I Do 3.24

8. Nothing You Can Do 3.31

This is another fine contribution from our regular visitor Trakbuv who explains :

Here is a compilation of sorts of the great All Platinum outfit, First Class. It includes their 1976 LP, ‘Going First Class’ and an assortment of other tracks. It excludes their 1980 LP, ‘They Are First Class’. The tracks are of mixed quality, coming from several sources, but all very decent I feel. One source is the excellent ‘Battle Of The Bands’ CD featuring First Class & The Continental Four (highly recommended). I have used some of the inner sleeve notes to provide some background to this overlooked quartet.

“The group hailed from Baltimore and comprised Tony Yarborough and Harold Bell III (sharing leads), ably backed up by Fred M Brown and Sylvester Redditt. ‘What Is Life’ (Thereway 13778) was a marvellous first single, a dreamy slice of romantic philosophy. The next single, ‘What About Me’ (Today 1528), achieved a top 100 placing in the spring of ’74. A tender ballad, falsetto led, it featured a superb Bert De Coteaux arrangement. This was followed by a revival of The Unifics ‘The Beginning Of The End’ (Ebony Sounds) which reached no. 62 in the charts. The more orthodox slowie ‘Don’t Know What You’re Doing’ (Ebony Sounds 188) sadly didn’t do any over-the-counter business and First Class moved to New Jersey for their next releases.

Under staff writer/producer Tommy Keith, they came up with a strong debut album in 1976, ‘Going First Class’ (All Platinum 3018), from which two hit 45s were taken: ‘Me and My Gemini’ (All Platinum 2365) was an attractive, insidious mid-pace foottapper, followed by the similar ‘This Is It’ which also crept in the charts. I also have a soft spot for ‘Let’s Make Love’, a slightly funky beater featuring alternate falsetto/hard leads included on the LP. Around this time, they linked up with George Kerr and released the obscure ‘Softones & First Class Together’ LP on his own Park-Way International label. Despite some classy arrangements, this attractive collection didn’t sell – and neither did any of its 3 singles.

Their final release would appear to be back with All Platinum who issued ‘They Are First Class’ on Sugar Hill (255) in 1980.”

I hope that any lovers of sweet soul unfamiliar with the band will appreciate how wonderful and enduring these tracks are.

Listen up their wonderful 2nd single “What About Me”

Big thanks to Trakbuv for this great contribution introducing to most of us, a group which deserved to be more widely known. “Let the music play” as Barry White sang. These songs will touch your souls, brothers!

Groovy Emmanuel’s lessons on Soul and Funk continues : This is another fine chapter in the never ending story of east coast harmony soul music, as it came out in the 70’s. Black teenagers always had nothing but their voices to sing their hearts out. In this case, it is a new fusion of black rooted music that emerged from the 60’s and took shape in the 70’s under some heavenly vocal and instrumental arrangements made by some dedicated gentlemen like George Kerr, Tommy Keith and my goodness Norbert De Coteaux, the man responsible for the superb sound in the work of Main Ingredient, Marlena Shaw, the Manhattans, Linda Lewis and on and on and on… These men left some serious legacy for the next generation to deal with. It is no wonder that Sylvia Robinson of All Platinum marked another chapter of black culture in the late 70’s by introducing Rapper’s Delight to the world.

Buy the Album

Download the Album

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56 Comments
  • Cold Legistics
    Posted at 18:04h, 17 July Reply

    Man I cannot thank you enough for this blog… I luv u dawg

  • k02
    Posted at 19:06h, 17 July Reply

    Amazing great, youre truly appreciated nikos

  • Pierre
    Posted at 20:28h, 17 July Reply

    WOW!!!!!!!!Superb album!!!Thanx.

  • FAkeS
    Posted at 21:23h, 17 July Reply

    Thanks for this wonderful piece of sweet soul, i thought i’d never found! “Me and My Gemini” kills me every time i listen to it.

  • musicmeiho
    Posted at 21:58h, 17 July Reply

    Thanks Nikos and Trakbuv – sweet sweet sweet!!

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 22:09h, 17 July Reply

    Thanks so much, trakbuv. I see you’re holding it down all across the musical blogosphere. And thanks as always, nikos.

  • Rich
    Posted at 22:21h, 17 July Reply

    Trakbuv got the soul lps thanks also to nikos for this sweet blog cant wait for the futures albums.

  • Ingram
    Posted at 22:51h, 17 July Reply

    “BIG THX” LOOOOOOOOOOL

  • Trakbuv
    Posted at 22:56h, 17 July Reply

    Thanks Nikos for a wonderful bio and breakdown of the tracks. You know your blog is extra special to me !!

  • Mr. Moo
    Posted at 23:27h, 17 July Reply

    Thank you very much Trakbuv & nikos for posting. It’s been a long time since I heard this one.

    If you’re interested in another set of the album covers, please give me a yell.

  • jahcisco
    Posted at 00:38h, 18 July Reply

    Thank you for sharing this album.

  • Chi Town Slick
    Posted at 01:01h, 18 July Reply

    Thanks for this wonderful gem! This blog is pure dope!

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 02:43h, 18 July Reply

    Trakbuv, i was very cautious when you send this one to approve it for the blog. i admit i had no idea of the group except a song from a collection long time ago. it took me a few minutes to realize that this album is a little gem. So thank you again for this excellent contribution. It is already a very successful post. (200 downloads in 8 hours and more that 800 visitors today). Bless you!

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 03:10h, 18 July Reply

    oops! I replied on the wrong Posts! Thanks Nikos and Trakbuv! Awesome album. Much Appreciated!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 06:58h, 18 July Reply

    int arrest ang…

  • manny
    Posted at 07:01h, 18 July Reply

    thanks for posting

  • W.A.
    Posted at 09:58h, 18 July Reply

    I have never seen or heard about this release but thanks again for the rare gems.

  • gea
    Posted at 10:42h, 18 July Reply

    A surprise!!!!A very strong album!!!Thanks Trakbuv and nikos for this legendary blog.

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 10:54h, 18 July Reply

    This is another fine chapter in the never ending story of east coast harmony soul music, as it came out in the 70’s. Black teenagers always had nothing but their voices to sing their hearts out. In this case, it is a new fusion of black rooted music that emerged from the 60’s and took shape in the 70’s under some heavenly vocal and instrumental arrangements made by some dedicated gentlemen like George Kerr, Tommy Keith and my goodness Norbert De Coteaux, the man responsible for the superb sound in the work of Main Ingredient, Marlena Shaw, the Manhattans, Linda Lewis and on and on and on… These men left some serious legacy for the next generation to deal with. It is no wonder that Sylvia Robinson of All Platinum marked another chapter of black culture in the late 70’s by introducing Rapper’s Delight to the world.

  • london
    Posted at 14:38h, 18 July Reply

    Great post, much appreciated! I like the reviews and background info you always provide. But those comments (lessons) from Groovy Emmanuel are unbelievable. Pure education. Keep it up!

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 16:37h, 18 July Reply

    Thanks for this one Nikos! Lovin the “coming soon” box on the blog, just got to keep coming back!!

  • Fin
    Posted at 17:52h, 18 July Reply

    Can’t wait to hear this one too. Love Sweet soul groups!

  • Andre
    Posted at 18:47h, 18 July Reply

    thanks trakbuv i enjoy all your drops much appreciated

  • pegasi
    Posted at 19:16h, 18 July Reply

    Love First Class! This has got to be one of my favorite soul music blogs. Since you’re featuring groups from the All Platinum label, I’m surprised you haven’t posted anything by the Moments. Any chance we’ll be treated to some of their stuff?

    Keep on Keeping on!

    Pegasi

  • hooch
    Posted at 20:03h, 18 July Reply

    thank you very much!

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 21:20h, 18 July Reply

    Pegasi, thank you for your kind words. i have posted The Moments “With You” album. http://www.funkmysoul.gr/?p=130. It was one of my most successful posts in my Lost In Tyme Blog period. You can also find at least 4 Moments albums links in the cbox. Enjoy.

  • Raphy
    Posted at 21:52h, 18 July Reply

    A Very Hard album to come by……….Simply TOP SHELF!
    BIG UP!!! & THANKS

  • St Johnny
    Posted at 01:20h, 19 July Reply

    Cool post. Congrats Trakbuv and nick. This site is simply amazing!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 02:58h, 19 July Reply

    beautiful looking album, cant wait

  • DJG
    Posted at 03:34h, 19 July Reply

    wow!!!! haven’t heard this before! once again thank you for you time and hard work. peace!

  • Jaguar
    Posted at 11:26h, 19 July Reply

    Thanks for this great LP.

    Look forward to more great sounds in the future.

  • aaron
    Posted at 12:23h, 19 July Reply

    Lovely post guys. thanks.

  • Kizza
    Posted at 15:52h, 19 July Reply

    Thanks Nikos! You’re posts are always top class!

  • gea
    Posted at 20:47h, 19 July Reply

    Thanks for the recent shares man and Trakbuv for this jewel of sweet soul.

  • magicsoul
    Posted at 03:29h, 20 July Reply

    yo… thx for that, i just got a couple of songs from first class, and that the softones & first class – together (1979)!
    this one is new to me, thank you very much sir…dope

  • Ryan
    Posted at 13:44h, 20 July Reply

    Thank You Guys!!! I’ve beeen looking for this for forever!! This is a true gem!!!! oh!!!!and the bonus too.

  • Tina M.
    Posted at 09:22h, 21 July Reply

    Probably there’s so many soul group with great records we still miss! Going First Class is one of them. I like it so much. Thank you.

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 14:30h, 21 July Reply

    Tina, It’s 70’s (and also 60’s). Every soul – funk record released back then, had a minimum quality. By far better than 80’s and especially 90’s and nowdays. Enjoy this blessed music. There’s more gems to come.

  • Arkane1
    Posted at 17:31h, 22 July Reply

    Props to Trakbuv and Nikos for this rare gem. Can’t wait to listen to this and the bonus tracks. Peace fellas

  • Mick
    Posted at 09:29h, 24 July Reply

    awesome!

  • 2timez
    Posted at 00:40h, 26 July Reply

    NICE JOINT……………

  • Numba
    Posted at 15:30h, 06 August Reply

    You’re the man Nikos !

  • analog6
    Posted at 09:19h, 13 September Reply

    Nikos, Trakbuv, many thanks. As a native of the DC area, this soul vocal group sound is defintely my thang.

  • albgardis
    Posted at 21:57h, 13 November Reply

    Hey – this was posted on my birthday, and somehow I missed it until now.
    What a wonderful album!
    Yes, Trackbuv has great treasures, so we should not be surprised really. Thanks to Nikos to make it available via this blog, as Trackbuv’s blog has sometimes issues, like only for invitees, or members, etc.
    I can’t believe I missed this, ha. Sounds so great! Thank you!

  • Bro Barrett
    Posted at 06:51h, 07 February Reply

    Born and raised in Baltimore and this group is one of our icons

  • A9
    Posted at 22:01h, 03 May Reply

    Thanks for sharing First Class, first rate recording. To both Nikos and Trakbuv!

  • Michael
    Posted at 22:05h, 23 June Reply

    I have this album and yes it is good. I plan to convert it to CD so I can listen while I drive. I’m still looking for the album with softones and first class together.

  • MIchael
    Posted at 02:55h, 09 July Reply

    A few weeks ago I mentioned to Nikos about an album I was looking for. He got it. I had been trying to get it for a few months. He is my music hero. My brother and I are old school musci fans. Being able to add the Softones & First Class/ Together album to my collection was a 10 star deal. Many thanks to Nikox.

  • Andre
    Posted at 08:05h, 02 August Reply

    I’m looking for a copy of rock the house by chapter 3 rappers,it was relesaed in the mid to late 80s. produced by Steve Kerr.

  • Barry Dab
    Posted at 04:33h, 11 August Reply

    I listened to this growing up in Baltimore.I’ve traveled a lot since.None of the old school buffs i’ve encountered new of this song.Thanks for the explanation.

  • Darryl
    Posted at 01:23h, 18 January Reply

    Its funny listening to my grandfather Harold Bell sing in the Group First class..

  • Brandi
    Posted at 20:21h, 13 April Reply

    It was wonderful to look on this site and find my dad singing with Firs Class….see my nephew found it too..

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 20:44h, 18 July Reply

    it has been along time if any one from first class is reading this please contact jerry scott your old conga player tryimg to contact harold.

  • jerry scott
    Posted at 20:45h, 18 July Reply

    it has been along time if any one from first class is reading this please contact jerry scott your old conga player tryimg to contact harold.contact me @cndrscott@hotmail.com

  • Markos
    Posted at 12:51h, 01 April Reply

    Great work!
    (Small detail: four of the tracks in the bonus folder (“Beach Baby”, “Won’t Somebody Help Me”, “What Became Of Me”, “Surfer Queen”) are not from First Class of Baltimore. They are of The First Class of U.K.)
    Anyway, great job.

  • Name
    Posted at 01:54h, 09 August Reply

    Thank you

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