Gladys Knight & The Pips – 1973 – All I Need Is Time
Research & review by Raggedy
Rip & posting by Nikos
I do confess that I am listening to music with the heart. And no matter how exquisitely crafted a song might be or how superbly performed, if it’s not capable of making my heart sing along, it’s not my kind of a song. Neither do static or scratches or time-worn quality in a recording annoy me. As long as the magic of both the song and singer still shine through, even a not-mint-at all condition vinyl record will fascinate me. Why do I mention that? Because these are the only negative points I could associate with Gladys Knight and The Pips’ album All I Need Is Time
A1 I’ll Be Here (When You Get Home) 4.03
A2 All I Need Is Time 4.34
A3 Heavy Makes You Happy 3.38
A4 The Only Time You Love Me Is When You’re Losing Me 2.50
A5 Here I Am Again 3.41
B1 There’s a Lesson to Be Learned 3.28
B2 Oh! What a Love I Have Found 4.11
B3 The Singer 3.06
B4 Thank You (Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Agin) 4.01
No need to state that Gladys’s voice is the most expressive female voice in Soul music. I dare say that her rich, warm, womanly timbre has still to find its match. And I have yet to hear a vocalist emote with more natural grace than she does. Sighing or soaring, her voice never fails to convince.
But — to give Gladys all the credit for this fantastic album would be very wrong. The Pips provide the flawless canvas on which Gladys applies the full range of her vocal colors, ranging from heavy golden through earthy brown and cool blue to shiny silver. On Here I Am Again,There’s, A Lesson To Be Learned, and the title song All I Need Is Time, Merald “Bubba” Knight, William Guest, and Edward Patten demonstrate how perfect vocal harmonizing ties together orchestra and lead singer.
By the time All I Need Is Time was released in 1973, the group had recorded for Motown’s SOUL Records for seven years. The SOUL label focused on Motown’s R&B and Soul music instead of its popular crossover sound. Funny enough, however, the title song and my personal favorite Oh What A Love I Have Found have been written by the Folk/Pop songwriter George “Bud” Renau. This fact only proves that a song doesn’t have to be born as a Soul tune; it acquires its soulfulness through the delivery and interpretation by the artist.
Not long after the album was released, Gladys Knight and The Pips joined Buddah Records where they were heavily promoted and eventually found their well deserved place in the limelight. While their work with Motown was considered secondary to that of Diana Ross and her Supremes or Marvin Gaye, for example, at Buddah Gladys and her Pips became front runners.
The album remains relatively neglected, although it is an collection of outstanding songs and finely detailed arrangements. In my opinion, there are not many albums with a comparably harmonious blend of different instrumentations and genres. It incorporates Soul, Gospel, Funk, Pop and even traces of Swing, providing a well-rounded listening experience. Throughout the album, the strings, I promise, will take you on a emotional journey from exhilaration to agitation while the horn section creates different moods ranging from somber to ecstatic. Add to this palette of perceptions the subtle sound effects of ticking clocks, murmuring brooks, and beating hearts — and you’ll understand that music indeed is “… all of heaven we have below.” (Harold Adamson.)
Moreover, All I Need Is Time oozes the magic of the early 70’s. All the crackling and hissing of the vinyl copy I am reviewing today can’t diminish that impression. The one most notable characteristic of the album besides the flawless singing is the masterful musical arrangement. The album blends such high impact compositions as Here I Am Again with melancholic-melodic silver-bells-laced tunes as found the title songAll I Need Is Time. Oh What A Love I Have Found, without a doubt, incorporates folk undertones reminiscent of bubbling brooks, drifting white clouds, and soft summer breezes, while the Staple Singers’ classic Heavy Makes you Happy is dominated by some fine percussion work. As a matter of fact, each song on this album has its very own personality.
All I Need Is Time is a album that will fascinate any music lover who appreciates all facets of the art from lyrics to instrumentation. As one wise guy once said, however, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” So I will leave the final judgement to you. I am very sure, however, that you will come to love the album.