Label : Outta Sight
Import collection from the 'first family of Soul' containing their complete Curtis Mayfield-related recordings on one disc. The Five Stairsteps set the bar with their unique brand of dance and harmonies that would be emulated by all future young acts and in particular the Jackson 5.
A pair of killer albums from The Five Stairsteps – 1967's self-titled set for Windy C – plus '68's Love's Happening by The Five Stairsteps & Cubie – together with bonus track on this great set from Outta Sight UK! The Five Stairsteps album is a landmark batch of sweet soul – recorded by the still youthful group that included a 13 year old Kenny Burke! The kids were brought together by their parents Clarence and Betty Burke, but it was Curtis Mayfield who really gave them a push – as he discovered them, produced them, and wrote some excellent songs for them during their best early years.
Mayfield's sweet soul style forged with The Impressions runs through most of these tracks – and although the group is young, they really do a fantastic job with the material, and infuse it with a soulfulness way past their years. Titles include "Danger She's A Stranger", "World Of Fantasy", "Ooh Baby Baby", "Don't Waste Your Time", and "Behind Curtains". Love's Happening might be the best record ever by this Chicago soul group! The record's got a full batch of original tracks written and produced by Mayfield – including their amazing, funk steeped version of "Don't Change Your Love", with a breakbeat that lit up the sampler culture for years!
That raw drum sound is in effect on even the more delicate numbers, and the lead vocals and harmonies soar or sink deep to the soul, as the groove demands. There's also some kind of tripped out touches in the production in spots, making for a nice balance of sweet soul and leftfield touches. Kind of an underappreciated effort in the grand scheme of Curtis Mayfield productions, but wholly essential!
Five Stairsteps - Danger! She's A Stranger
By Electric Looser