The Vinyl Say 002: The Impressions

In every collection there are records that get played all the time, many of them for years, decades even. Then there are those that, while no less treasured, somehow fall by the wayside to lie in wait, ripe for rediscovery. This occasional series chronicles a few of those nuggets as they resurface from my own back pages. So, put the needle to the record, put the needle to the record, put the needle to the record and it goes like this…

The Impressions – Meeting Over Yonder c/w I’ve Found That I’ve Lost (ABC Paramount, 1965)

So glad this floated to the top of the pile of 45s this week.

‘Meeting Over Younder’ is classic mid-60s Impressions with Curtis Mayfield growing into his role of channelling the anger of the civil rights movement and articulating it with peace and poetry.

Lyrically and musically he remains rooted in gospel and although this is not as well known as ‘People Get Ready’ it takes similar ingredients and ups the tempo to bring the group still further into the consciousness of the white beat generation gripped by mainstream Hollywood TV.

It’s a landmark freedom song from a simpler age, courageous, idealistic and unapologetic. Untarnished by hate, it lyrics reach for equality through unity, refusing to blame or point fingers. What’s more it’s great to dance to and is helped in that regard by classy, restrained horns and strings arranged to perfection by the inimitable Johnny Pate.

‘I’ve Found That I’ve Lost’ on the flip is a forlorn, string-drenched lover’s lament, the other side of the coin to ‘I’m So Proud’. The combined voices of Curtis Mayfield, Fred Cash and Sam Godden could make a shipping list sound soulful, that they had songs as good as this to perform is something we should be very glad of.

Within a few years Mayfield’s lyrics and performances edged into ballsier, more militant territory as he – as a solo artist – continued to chart the progress of the civil rights movement beyond the assassination of Martin Luther King.

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