The Undisputed Truth – 1971 – The Undisputed Truth

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This is a fine album of Psychedelic Soul

Just listen the thrilling hit “Smiling Faces Sometimes
the guitars and jamming in “Ball of Confusion” the covers of famous “Aquarius” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and finally “Like a Rolling Stone”.

The year was 1970 and the man behind this project was famous Motown producerNorman Whitfield.

Side 1
1. You got the love I need – 2.57
2. Save my love for a rainy day – 04:00
3. California Soul – 03:55
4. Aquarius – 02:39
5. Ball of confusion – 10:30

Side 2
6. Smiling faces sometimes 3.14
7. We’ve got a way out love -02:55
8. Since I’ve lost you – 03:20
9. Ain’t no sun since you’ve been gone – 02:42
10. I heard it through the grapevine– 02:51
11. Like a rolling stone – 06:35

Norman Whitfield was responsible for the radical change in The Temptations’ sound. He brought in some adventure and innovation to Motown. The idea with the Undisputed Truth was problably to try out new stuff and experiment. At least you get this feeling when you look at the sleeves of Cosmic Truth and Higher Than High. The members of the group are not listed, only the studio musicians.

Undisputed Truth has always been regarded as some sort of forever-and-ever warm up band, and not as a real group. Even if Norman saved his goodies for The Temptations to record, it’s not fair to put the Undisputed Truth off as guinea-pigs. All three members had voices that cannot be neglected. Calvin’s and Joyce’s harmonies were like two singing birds around Harris’ great lead. In fact, Temptation’s monster hit Papa Was A Rolling Stone was first recorded by the Undisputed Truth. But their version never reached the same commercial success as Temptation’s Grammy award winning version

The debut album The Undisputed Truth was released in 1971. A soulful record with Motown feeling. They enjoyed a top 3 R&B hit with Smiling Faces Sometimes. A piece of psychedelic soul from Whitfield and his writing partner Barrett Strong. This was their biggest hit and nothing of later material could match this success.

Joe Harris served as main lead singer, with Billie Rae Calvin and Brenda Joyce, formerly of The Delicates, on additional leads and background vocals

The group, in my opinion, got more interesting as time went on. The original trio broke up in the mid-seventies and a new line-up was formed, based around original member Joe Harris. The new people coming in was Taka Boom (sister of Chaka Khan), Virginia McDonald, Tyrone “Lil Ty” Barkley and Calvin “Dhaakk” Stephenson. Whitfield kept on toying with their sound and they underwent a dramatic change in image and sound, resulting in a range from psychedelic soul and funk to black rock. They got dirtier and nastier and shocked the fans with the clear Funkadelic influences on their releases from the second half of the 70’s. Painted faces and white afros became their special trademark.

The group’s music and unususal costuming (large Afros and white makeup) typified the then-popular trend of “psychedelic soul”. A number of their singles became minor hits, and many of them were also songs for Whitfield’s main act The Temptations, among them “You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”. Their single Top 40 hit in the United States was the ominous “Smiling Faces Sometimes”, also originally recorded by The Temptations, which hit #3 on the US pop charts in 1971.
The Undisputed Truth, along with Rose Royce and Willie Hutch, followed Whitfield during his exodus from Motown to set up Whitfield Records in 1975. At this time, Calvin and Joyce left the group, and Harris was joined by new members Virginia “V” McDonald, Tyrone”Big Ty” Douglas, Tyrone “Lil Ty” Barkley, and Calvin “Dhaak” Stephenson. The group’s costuming and style changed as well, becoming even more unusual and Funkadelic-influenced. However, the group had little success at the new label, and faded into obscurity after two more albums, although they charted in the UK in 1977 (#43) with the disco single “You + Me = Love” from the album Method to the Madness

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11 Comments
  • chizzm
    Posted at 20:50h, 13 October 2008 Reply

    Thank you for this album, this blog is full of amazing gems and is a credit to you!!!

  • Kent Eriksson
    Posted at 00:27h, 19 October 2008 Reply

    Oh my God, finally I found the Undisputed Truth albums on the Internet! I had all their vinyl albums once, but in need of cash I sold all my vinyls in the late 80s. I deeply regret this ….Thanks “Funk My Soul” for all these gems!

  • jean
    Posted at 06:36h, 30 October 2008 Reply

    anotha gem…thanks dude

  • Brain Damage
    Posted at 16:31h, 14 November 2008 Reply

    Hey, this album is actually much better than what I remembered. Not in the same category as what The Temptations or Marvin Gaye were doing at the time, of course… But who could beat them, anyway?

  • Godfaz
    Posted at 22:51h, 26 November 2008 Reply

    Solid classic ! Thanks Nikos !

  • cawamor
    Posted at 02:49h, 07 October 2010 Reply

    This is yet another superb and excellent example of true soul music. This album is one of the best there is (my opinion) and should be in everyone’s collection. You are simply the best nikos…I raise my hat to you my friend.

    Peace & Love.

  • cash-mire
    Posted at 22:42h, 03 August 2011 Reply

    Wonderful post, but “Like a Rolling Stone” skips at 2:49! Ahhhh!

  • Dave
    Posted at 06:40h, 07 August 2011 Reply

    Thanks for this wonderful music.

  • Buckshot lefonk
    Posted at 13:59h, 05 September 2012 Reply

    What the hell ! Just listened to this amazing record and now I fell I’ve been in darkness for such a long time.
    Never left a comment despite I’m a huge fan of this bog. So this has been a long overdue. Thank you very much for sharing

  • Deriz
    Posted at 17:29h, 31 October 2015 Reply

    Amazing collection ! Cheers from Brazil !

  • Bliss
    Posted at 05:47h, 04 October 2017 Reply

    I can’t thank you enough for this amazing resource. FunkMySoul is a hip hop producers dream!!! God Bless

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