Facts Of Life – 1977 – Sometimes
A real classic from Facts Of Life – a unique trio with a great talent for mellow songs about life, love, and messing around! The work was recorded in Muscle Shoals by Brad Shapiro and Millie Jackson – and it’s often got the best qualities of Millie’s own mellow work – not the upbeat tracks, but the laidback ones in which she tells a little story with her lyrics.
But given the trio nature of the group, there’s often some great interplay between the male and female vocals – in a way that reminds us a lot of The Soul Children towards the end of their run at Stax – when they really matured a lot, and used the male/female group format to really expand on older styles of southern soul. Shapiro’s production is tight, but never overdone – often letting the vocals cup through the most strongly, even on some cuts that augment the grooves a bit.
A1 Sometimes 3.45
A2 Caught in the Act (Of Getting It On) 4.17
A3 Bitter Woman 4.11
A4 Lost Inside of You 3.43
A5 Looks Like We Made It 3.26
B1 A Hundred Pounds of Pain 3.22
B2 Uphill Places of Mind 3.26
B3 What Would Your Mama Say? 4.12
B4 Givin’ Me Your Love 3.55
B5 That Kind of Fire 3.22
B6 Love Is the Final Truth 4.15
By George O’Leary
The Soul/Disco trio The Facts Of Life consisted of Jean Davis – younger sister of Tyrone Davis, Keith Williams – previously with Little Anthony & The Imperials as well as lead on Buffalo Soldier by The Flamingos in 1970, and Chuck Carter – who, as a solo artist, released Pretty Little Brown Skin Girl b/w I Can’t Help Myself with Brunswick in 1966, and A Teardrop Fell b/w I’ve Done You Wrong with Bedford in 1969. As a group they were put together and produced by the famed Millie Jackson.
They enjoyed a brief association with national fame in the mid-1970s while recording for Kayvette Records, a small operation launched in 1975 by Brad Shapiro with distribution arrangements through T.K. Productions. Kayvette folded in 1980 after releasing four LPs and 19 singles, with their primary artists being ex-Atlantic Records female vocalist Jackie Moore and The Facts Of Life. The latter also cut one record at the label – their first – as The Gospel Truth before changing their name, and there is some suggestion that, as The Gospel Truth, they may also have backed 1963 One-Hit Wonder Doris Troy on some of her later records. That, however, is unconfirmed.
That first record billed as The Gospel Truth was the Frederick Knight-penned Uphill Peace Of Mind (3:26) b/w If You Give You Can Get (3:20) billed as The Gospel Truth (Kayvette 5123) in 1975, and while that failed to dent any of the national singles charts it did well on a regional/local basis. Then, in early 1976 the label released Caught In The Act (Of Gettin’ It On) and in May-June it peaked at # 13 R&B b/w L-O-V-E as Kayvette 5126. That was followed in Dec 1976-Jan 1977 by their best, the beautiful Soul treatment cover of the Bill Anderson & Mary Lou Turner # 1 Country smash Sometimes which for the group went to # 3 R&B/# 31 Billboard Pop Hot 100 b/w Love Is The Final Truth as Kayvette 5128.
Those successes led to one of the 2 LPs released by the label, naturally titled “Sometimes” (Kayvette 802) and it made it to # 33 R&B/# 146 Pop on the Billboard album.
That, however, didn’t help the promotion of their next 1977 singles, none of which could regain the charts: A Hundred Pounds Of Pain (3:20) b/w Givin’ Me Your Love (3:55) – Kayvette 5131; Looks Like We Made It (3:38) b/w Lost Inside Of You (3:25) – Kayvette 5134; We Can’t Hide It Anymore (3:38) b/w Dr. Feelgood (3:25) – Kayvette 5136; and Did He Make Love To You? – Part I (3:37) b/w Part II (2:09) – Kayvette 5137.
Even so, in 1978 the label gave them a second album titled “A Matter Of Fact” (Kayvette 803) which reached # 54 on the R&B album charts in mid-year.