The Natural Four ... tell me more about them
Just discovered them on YouTube ... I'm sure 99 percent of the people here (except me!) know about this group. I read on Wikipedia that they didn't last long. Too bad, some great talent. Leroy Hutson produced them, certainly a great guy to have on your side.
Another long, lost soul group to add to my music collection. Really impressed with their sound. Tell me more about them:
Originally out of San Francisco, they first recorded for the local Boola Boola label, eventually getting picked up by ABC, which reissued a couple of the Boola Boola sides, but most notably for the Northern fans, released a second take on "I Thought You Were Mine" that is faster and more soulful than the one on the original label. They left ABC for a short stint on Chess and then wound up on Curtom, where they hit big with "Can This Be Real".
Try this on for size:
Olan Bell (aka Chris James) an original member of the Natural Four is married to blues singer Zakyia Hooker, daughter of John Lee Hooker. They moved from the Bay area a few years ago and now reside in Atlanta.
Another member of the group, whose names escapes me at the moment is serving time in jail for a bank robbery.
Nish, a former member of SDF was working with Olan a few years back on a book he was writing but I think he put it on the back burner to focus more on his wife's career.
A current pic of Olan with Nish and Ronnie Mac.
Great replies as always from the SDF crew -- great album recommendation and nice photo, too! Always amazed at some of these groups I discover who have a great sound and don't make it big, getting a bit lost in the shuffle. Nevertheless, very good music, plan on getting that double-album set. Thanks!
Delmos Whitley, lead singer of the Natural Four, is the one who is doing hard time.
From what I recently saw in the Chicago SOUL to SOUL group on FB, Chris James is still working on the book and may be finished. I vaguely remember seeing the front cover. Perhaps KW/Paladin can shed some further light on this.
Delmos Whitley, that's the one. Thanks Mellow Q.
Can't say one way or the other about the book. I do know Nish was working on it as a ghost writer and I read a few chapters but last I heard he had put it on hold. Haven't spoken to Nish for awhile so things could have changed.
Sequel had put out a 2 CD set in 1999 , NEMCD 406 , "Can This Be Real- The Complete Curtom Recordings" ,that has all three albums plus non-album tracks on it. It's worth searching out on E-Bay or Gemm. I think I paid about $14 for it in a used CD store.
Here is one for sale? http://www.downstairsrecords.com/newoldies/?all=1
Can This Be Real is one of those tracks that is just timeless. Everything about it is perfect ,the recording ,it's overall sound is excellent no matter what you listen to it on. The lyrics and performance, it's just beautiful. Text book Curtom /Leroy Hutson production.
When "Can This Be Real" hit in the U.S. in 1974 I think Curtom must have been about to change distributors or something as it never got a U.K. release at the time .. which led me to get a copy of the L.P. as a U.S. import.
Great L.P. and great group .. and "Can This Be Real" is an utter gem ..
This is one that actually got released as a 45 in Britain .. I even heard it a few times on the radio .. off the "Heaven Right Here On Earth" LP.
NATURAL FOUR - "You're Love Is so Wonderful" ..