The Stairsteps -1970 – Step By Step By Step
Although this set was issued by Buddah in 1970, it’s a great set featuring some of the earliest work that the Five Stairsteps recorded for Curtis Mayfield’s Windy C label during the late 60s, under his production talents as well! We love all of the Burke brothers albums, both as a group and solo, and this one has their fine harmonies dressed up nicely in some sweet Windy City soul arrangements!
A1 We Must Be In Love 3:00
A2 (Baby) Make Me Feel So Good 2:00
A3 Stay Close To Me 3:00
A4 Ooh Baby Baby 2:30
A5 Because I Love You 4:32
A6 Behind Curtains 2:49
A7 Ooh Child 3:17
B1 World Of Fantasy 3:01
B2 Come Back 2:52
B3 Don’t Waste Your Time 2:25
B4 Playgirl’s Love 2:10
B5 You Waited Too Long 2:49
B6 The Touch Of You 2:35
B7 Danger! She’s A Stranger 2:49
Formed in Chicago in 1965 and known initially as The First Family Of Soul, The Five Stairsteps consisted of Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis and Kenneth ( Keni ) Burke, and were managed by their father Clarence Sr., who also played bass behind them and co-wrote some of their material. After winning a talent contest at the famed Regal Theater, the group was introduced to the legendary Curtis Mayfield by Fred Cash of The Impressions, which led to their first recording contract with Mayfield s Windy C label. Between 1966 and 1968, The Five Stairsteps had six pop and R&B charted singles, the most successful of which was World of Fantasy.
After Windy C folded, the group continued their association with Curtom Records, distributed at the time by Buddah Records; in total, The Five Stairsteps cut two albums under Mayfield s wing before switching to Buddah in 1968 for their first LP for the label, Our Family Portrait, with lead singer/primary composer Clarence Jr. and his father as co-producers. The album included two charted singles, Something s Missing (R&B #17, Pop #88) and a cover of the doo-wop classic, A Million to One (R&B #28, Pop #68). Each member of the group took turns singing lead on various tunes, including the Burkes youngest son, Cubie (then just five years old). Released as The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie, the LP reached No. 20 on the R&B Albums chart and No. 195 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
In 1970, the group (minus Cubie) began working with producer/arranger Stan Vincent on the album Stairsteps. In addition to further Burke originals, there were two Beatles covers, It s Getting Better and Dear Prudence, but it was the song originally issued as the flipside of the latter s release as a single that would ensure the group s place in music history. The bright and upbeat anthem O-o-h Child sold over a million copies, was certified gold and reached No. 8 on the Hot 100 and No. 14 on the R&B charts. The LP became a best-seller, No. 12 on the R&B Albums chart and No. 83 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.