The Stairsteps – 1976 – 2nd Resurrection
Has anyone ever heard the classic song “Ooh Child”? Surely it is one of the singular R & B jams of the 70s. That jam is often revisited in movies with a 70s theme (“Boyz in Duh Hood”, Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn” and later still in “Dead Presidents”). “Ooh Child” was recorded by the Stairsteps (formally, “The Five Stairsteps”)– and for one golden moment in time, they were the biggest, most talented R & B siblings in the biz, before a little group of afro-topped kids called The Jackson Five stole their thunder. it was Curtis Mayfield who really gave them a push — as he discovered them, produced them, and wrote some excellent songs for them during their best early years.
Anyway, skip to five years later, and the newly named “Stairsteps” broke new ground with a masterful, synth-driven opus entitled “2nd Resurrection”. This album is the jam. It was far ahead of its time (in 1976) and each selection on this LP leads, without pause, into the next and the effect melts like psychedelic butter on vinyl.The song “Pasado” alone ( a mellow moody she-done-me-wrong very hummable ditty) should’ve been a major hit for these guys. The song is sung in English and features a part-Spanish chorus. Quite simply, it is a spectacular melding with all its moogs and modulated melancholy.
It was and is a very distinctive artistic collection, that like most great art, somehow missed connecting with the masses. Hopefully this album was included in the 100 greatest soul albums of all time compiled by Mojo Magazine.
A1 From Us to You 3:39
A2 Pasado 3:09
A3 Theme of Angels 3:19
A4 Lifting 2nd Resurrection 3:45
A5 Time 3:48
B1 Throwin’ Stones Atcha 3:04
B2 Far East 1:06
B3 In the Beginning 2:53
B4 Tell Me Why 4:31
B5 Salaam 4:34
All songs produced by Billy Preston, Robert Margouleeff and Stairsteps
For me this is the gold standard of albums. I can remember hearing ‘From Us To You’ on the radio on it’s release debut could never get hold of the album as it was deleted almost immediately in the UK. It took me about 7 years to get a copy and I stumbled across it by accident at a record fair, which is usually the way. The album is an absolute tour de force you cannot get better than this and yes it’s the same Stairsteps group that sang ‘Ooh Child’ years before. This album came out on the late George Harrison’s Dark Horse record label. Stairsteps are the Burke brothers; Kenneth, James, Dennis and Clarence, they reformed in 1976 and produced this beautiful album that sounds as fresh today as it did in 1976. My personal feeelings are that the album was perhaps way ahead of it’s time and if it had been released today we’d all be raving about it. ‘From Us To You’ was a hit for them, however I love the laidback groove of ‘Pasado’, the vocals are a little slice of heaven. There are instrumentals on the album such as ‘Theme of Angels’, ‘Far East’ and ‘Salaam’. The other greats tracks are ‘Time’, ‘Lifting 2nd Resurrection’, ‘Throwin’ Stones Atcha’, ‘Tell Me Why’and ‘In The Beginning’. The greatest crime committed against this album is that It hasn’t been reissued on vinyl or CD, so if you can track down a vinyl copy, then snap it up.