MAJOR LANCE: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um (Label: SPV Blue)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • MAJOR LANCE: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um (Label: SPV Blue)
MAJOR LANCE: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um

Major Lance was one of the UK’s first genuine soul heroes. The genial Chicagoan’s relaxed and laid back take on uptown soul brought huge pleasure to the UK’s soul-starved mods in the mid sixties. His music was a mainstay in countless underground soul clubs and sadly, great though that music was, it was to remain underground, as limp cover versions of his best material scaled the UK pop charts. As sad, is the fact that despite his status, the Major’s been treated badly by the reissue labels and back catalogue specialists. There’s little that can be easily found on the man, so no wonder the soul community were delighted to learn that German label SPV were set to release a Major Lance compilation. More sadness though when the set arrived…this “new” album is a straight reissue of a 2003 Sony compilation and contains the same paltry 10 tracks. With a running time of only 23 minutes it hardly represents value for money – nor does it do any kind of justice to the magical music that Lance and collaborators Curtis Mayfield, Johnny Pate and Carl Davis crafted. Still, I guess we should be grateful for small mercies and the 23 minutes are all top notch ones. The set begins with the title cut – rightfully a big U.S. hit – and there follows nine more blissful Chicago anthems – five of them (like ‘Um’) penned by Lance’s school pal Curtis Mayfield. They include versions of the Impressions’ ‘It’s All Right’, ‘Gypsy Woman’ and ‘I’m The One Who Loves You’ and the one-time boxer puts his own distinct spin on ’em. There are also takes on ‘Watusi’ and ‘Land of 1,000 Dances’ and Lance’s own ‘Sweet Music’ and combined, they succinctly illustrate the warmth and attraction of 60s Chicago soul. As a hors d’oeuvre this album is superb – but it will, I guarantee, leave you wanting more – much more. Rating wise the music deserves a full 5 out of 5 – but I docked a point because of the length!
(BB) 4/5