The Continental IV – 1972 – Dream World
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When mentioning the soul greats from the 60’s and 70’s, rarely do the Continental IV (4)receive mention. My first exposure to their charming harmony and soulful vibe was with a song “I Don’t Have You” (1970). I was immediately struck with the ethereal harmony and sweet instrumentation. I found out after some research that they did release an album, this one, Dream World. The vinyl is rare, and the cd reissue is too. I truly enjoy the whole album from the first to last track. “I Don’t Have You” is on this album indeed, as are a few other songs I have heard previous to buying the cd reissue. “How Can I Pretend” (single issued in 1971, and “Day By Day (Every Minute On The Hour)” (also 1971) are 2 other sdongs I heard before buying the album. All three songs I mentioned have the heavenly early 70’s neo-doo-wop close harmony that I love. But there are other great songs as well, often with different vibes too. “Nite Moods” has a sweet jazzy and even slightly psychedelic vibe to it. “Escape From Planet Earth” is funkier and even more psychedelic and trippy with fun, spacy lyrics. “The Love You Gave To Me” is even funkier and more uptempo hinting at the funk/disco influence starting to spread circa 1972. One of my favorite songs is “(You’re Living In A) Dream World“.
This song reminds me of other groups like the Thom Bell produced Stylistics (at the time) with the use of the sitar guitar and the dreamy musicscape. “Running Away From Love” again has that doo-wop inspired harmony, and the sitar laced in the song. “Take A Little Time To Know Me” is another sweet harmony song. There is a neat Motown cover, “Heaven Must Have Sent You“, originally done by the Elgins in 1966, whose version I have hear and love as well(I believe their version is the original; it is well-known that Motown artists cover each others’ songs). The Continetal IV’s version is classily handled with the added lush Philly vibe this time. I believe the album as a whole is basically a collection of songs dating back as early as. Whatever the real story is behind the making and release of the album, I find it to be a delightful Philly Soul classic which I proudly blast in my car or even at work, and other people hearing me play them, most of whom are much older than I am who also grew up on this soul music(I was born in the 80’s and love this music with a passion) absolutely love it when I play this album. Being a huge Intruders, Delfonics, Blue Magic fan (among countless popular and under the radar soul groups), I really enjoy Dream World. It is rare and expensive but worth every cent to save up and buy.
A1 (You’re Living In A) Dream World 2:58
A2 Nite Moods 4:58
A3 I Don’t Have You 2:47
A4 Escape From Planet Earth 4:13
A5 Take A Little Time (To Know Me) 3:18
B1 Day By Day (Every Minute Of The Hour) 2:58
B2 Heaven Must Have Sent You 2:55
B3 How Can I Pretend 2:57
B4 The Love You Gave To Me 2:43
B5 Running Away (From Love) 2:52
With a line-up consisting of Anthony Burke, Freddie Kelly and brothers Larry and Ronnie McGregor this Philadelphia-based outfit had the misfortune of hitting the early-1970s soul harmony scene just as it was hitting its peak. Propelled by King’s lead falsetto they were easily as talented as better known acts like The Delfonics, The Moments, or The Stylistics, but never got the same commercial or chart traction.
1970 saw them signed by the Philly-based Jay Walking label where over the next three years they recorded a string of five first rate singles:
– 1970’s ‘I Don’t Have You’ b/w ‘The Way I Love You’ (Jay Walking catalog number JW 009)
– 1971’s ‘Day By Day’ b/w’ What You Gave Us’ (Jay Walking catalog number JW 011)
– 1971’s ‘How Can I Pretend’ b/w ‘The Love You Gave To Me’ (Jay Walking catalog number JW 013)
– 1972’s ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’ b/w ‘Running Away’ (Jay Walking catalog number JW 015)
– 1972’s ‘Take a Little Time’ b/w ‘Escape From Planet Earth’ (Jay Walking catalog number JW 017
– 1973’s ‘Dream World’ b/w ‘Nite Moods’ (Jay Walking catalog number JW 019)
Released in 1973, “Dream World” served to collect the earlier singles including their two R&B hits ‘I Don’t Have You‘ and ‘Day By Day (Every Minute of the Hour)‘. As mentioned above, powered by King’s crisp falsetto and backing from an all-star cast of Philadelphia sessions players (the set was recorded at Philadelphia International’s famed Sigma Sound Studios), this was classic early-1970s soul. Anyone into those better known harmony groups would get a major kick out of these ten tracks. As an added bonus producer/arranger /writer Bobby Martin (he wrote, or co-wrote half of the material) injected a sense of experimentation and playfulness throughout the ten tracks.
Hard to imagine William Hart and The Delfonics or Russell Tompkins Jr. and The Stylistics recording something with a sci-fi plotline like ‘Escape From Planet Earth’, the psych touches on the title track, or the surprisingly jazzy ‘Nite Moods’. Sure, perhaps not the most original set in the genre, but a worthy addition to anyone’s soul collection …