The Originals – 1969 – Baby I’m For Real (aka Green Grow The Lilacs)
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A classic set by The Originals one of Motown’s best second-generation soul groups, with a sound that rivalled the best of the indie sweet soul groups of the late 60s and early 70s! The album’s a delight throughout with a crackling, honest approach to group soul that was a refreshing change from some of Motown’s too-tight, more famous groups of the 60s. This set was probably the group’s biggest album, and it includes the hit slowjam title cut “Baby I’m For Real“, plus “Green Grow the Lilacs“, “Moment Of Truth“, “One Life We Live“, and “Love Is A Wonder“. For some reason this album was also called “Green Grow The Lilacs” in other pressings!
A1 We’ve Got A Way Out Of Love 3.03
A2 Green Grow The Lilacs 2.45
A3 Baby I’m For Real 3.21
A4 I’ve Never Begged Before 2.43
A5 Red Sails In The Sunset 2.28
A6 One Life We Live 3.13
B1 Moment Of Truth 3.15
B2 Why When Love Is Gone 2.47
B3 When Will We Learn 2.31
B4 You’re The One 3.15
B5 Love Is A Wonder 2.50
B6 You, Mysterious You 3.09
A Detroit soul vocal group led by Freddie Gorman, the Originals took the RB world by storm in 1969, although they had worked at Motown for years as invaluable background vocalists. Gorman recorded as a solo for Berry Gordy in 1961 and co-wrote “Please Mr. Postman” for the Marvelettes, and the Originals cut a version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” for Gordy’s Soul subsidiary in 1966 with ex-Falcon Joe Stubbs as lead. But Stubbs had split to form 100 Proof (Aged in Soul) by the time the quartet waxed the beautiful doo wop throwback “Baby I’m for Real,” an RB chart-topper in 1969 that was co-written and lushly produced by Marvin Gaye. The same combination also produced “The Bells,” another major hit in 1970. Former solo act Ty Hunter joined the group in 1971, and the Originals continued to chart into the next decade.
The group found modest success in the latter half of the 60s, often working as backup singers for recordings by artists such as Jimmy Ruffin (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”, 1966), Stevie Wonder‘s “For Once In My Life” in 1968 and David Ruffin (“My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)”, 1969). The Originals found their biggest success under the guidance of Motown legend Marvin Gaye, who co-wrote and produced two of the group’s biggest singles, “Baby I’m For Real”, and “The Bells”. This latter disc sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A. Both songs became seminal soul music recordings, and both songs have since been covered: 1990s R&B group After 7 re-recorded “Baby I’m For Real” and made it a hit again in 1992, while another 1990s R&B group Color Me Badd re-recorded “The Bells” for one of their albums. While the group went on to have more modest success in both the soul and disco fields near the end of the decade, including “Down To Love Town,” a #1 dance chart hit, the songs they made with Marvin Gaye are their most memorable and notable.
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