Friday, February 20, 2009

classix: The Undisputed Truth

The Undisputed Truth is often considered Norman Whitfield's Motown "lab rats"--a way for Whitfield to experiment with psychedelia and dark instrumentation which he would later infuse with his more popular group, The Temptations. Whitfield recorded a handful of psychedelic soul albums for the Temptations (Cloud Nine, Puzzle People, Psychedelic Shack) after 'out-producing' Smokey Robinson with the Temptations "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" in 1966.

Whitfield was one of the most daring and edgy producers in all of Motown in the late 60's and early 70's and this is never more apparent than his work with The Undisputed Truth, a group originally comprised of a few 'Motown muts': Joe Harris from the Preps and Billie Rae Calvin and Brenda Joyce, backup singers for Diana Ross, The Four Tops, and others. When Whitfield left Motown in 1975 to start his own label, he convinced The Undisputed Truth, Rose Royce, and others to follow. Calvin and Joyce soon left the group, and Whitfield brought in Chaka Khan's sister, Taka Boom and a few others reincarnating The Undisputed Truth as more of a spectacle of black funk-adelia. Their 1975 album, Cosmic Truth, contains one of the oddest 1-2 punches on wax: a soulful cover of Neil Young's "Down By The River" followed by the album's funk-saturated hit single, "UFO's."

The Undisputed Truth - UFO's [from Cosmic Truth 1975]

The Undisputed Truth - Smiling Faces Sometimes (1971)

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