Fred Gooden - vocals; Sam Cash - vocals; Reggie Torian - vocals; Nate Evans - vocals; Band members - unknown
The Impressions, formed in 1957, are one of the finest rhythm and blues acts to emerge from a solid gospel base. The doo-woppers come R&B crooners launched the careers of both Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, and both would remain involved with The Impressions for years to come, even after they had left and established their own careers.
The group had its biggest success in the Civil Rights era of the early to mid-1960s. Most of the hits The Impressions had were spearheaded by Mayfield after Jerry Butler left to pursue a solo career. He wrote a number of Black Pride anthems, including the infectious "Keep on Pushing." He also developed the group's merging of gospel and R&B. They had a hit with "Amen" and delivered the definitive version of "People Get Ready."
The Impressions, like The Supremes after the departure of Diana Ross in 1970, would carry on without their key members, but never saw the commercial success they had before. Mayfield departed in 1971 to concentrate on his label and solo career, which, the following year, would deliver the brilliant Superfly soundtrack album.
This show was recorded in 1977 after the group had left Mayfield's Curtom Records to record for Cotillion Records. It features new lead vocalist Nat Evans and material mostly from their It's About Time album, which was released the year before this show took place. Recorded at the height of the disco era, these tracks show an older R&B trying to connect with the modern sound of the town. The group takes advantage of its incredible layered harmonies on several songs ("Power of Love" and "I Need You" are particularly strong), but none of their classic '60s hits were part of the performance, which makes it an incomplete showcase for The Impressions.
The performance ends with a 15-minute version of the Tom Jones hit "It's Not Unusual." The Impressions take the Vegas-styled pop song through a number of drastic changes that start with its traditional arrangement and ends with a high-powered funk romp.