2 LPs on 1 CD: THE IMPRESSIONS/THE NEVER ENDING IMPRESSIONS.
Liner Note Authors: Rick Ward; Peter Burns.
Photographer: Bob Ghiraldini.
The Impressions/The Never Ending Impressions is a kind of odd pairing of two LPs on one CD, covering four years of releases by the group in completely different idioms and with partly different lineups -- it's also a good overview of their early history on ABC Records. The contents of The Impressions mostly consisted of their 1961-1963 singles, by the five-man lineup of Curtis Mayfield, Arthur Brooks, Richard Brooks, Sam Gooden, and Fred Cash -- these tend toward the elegant side of soul music (especially on "You've Come Home," "Minstrel and Queen," and "Sad, Sad Girl and Boy"), an attribute that is only enhanced by Ace Records' superb remastering of this material, which brings out all of the subtleties in the singing and playing. The Never Ending Impressions, made by Mayfield, Gooden, and Cash, was the group's first attempt at doing an actual LP, rather than just assembling previously issued singles and it alternates between some superb single-style tracks, such as "Sister Love," "Girl You Don't Know Me," and "I Gotta Keep On Moving," and more sophisticated standards such as "Satin Doll" and "You Always Hurt the One You Love." The latter are a somewhat mixed bag, at their weakest recalling the Mills Brothers to know special purpose but occasionally throwing out an interesting angle, in the beat or chorus. It's not quite as uniformly strong as the albums that preceded it, but the best songs -- half of what's here -- are as good as anything the group recorded in their previous three years, and the repertory experiment has its good moments. ~ Bruce Eder