The early ’70s was rife with quality soul music, and the Main Ingredient were one of many groups contributing to the genre’s fertile environment.
Before becoming the Main Ingredient, the Harlem, New York group was dubbed the Poets, then the Insiders. Comprised of Donald McPherson, Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons, the group switched their name to the Main Ingredient in 1968. Three years later, Donald McPherson sadly passed away from leukemia and was replaced by Cuba Gooding (father of future screen star Cuba Gooding Jr.), who already had close connections to the group, having sang back-up on some of their prior recordings.
A 10-track set, Greatest Hits: The Encore Collection (BMG Special Products) contains material from 1972-1974, which originally appeared on the RCA label. Characterized by creamy falsettos, oozing with melody, the Main Ingredient worked in an axiom akin to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and the Impressions. In fact, the group even released a very fine version of an Impressions song, “I’m So Proud,” that is included on this disc.
The Main Ingredient’s best known songs — the bright and bubbly “Everybody Plays The Fool,” which reached No. 3 on the charts in the summer of 1972; and the equally catchy “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely,” a Top 10 hit in the spring of 1974 — are of course presented on the record, as well. Hopelessly romantic songs such as “You’ve Been My Inspiration,” “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love),” “You’ve Got To Take Love (If You Want It),” and a true-to-form rendition of Bread’s “Make It With You” are other outstanding cuts heard on the package.
Although the Main Ingredient’s calling card clearly concerns their spellbinding vocals, the orchestral arrangements of their tunes lend an additional air of class and poise to the sensuous sounds. Pure, smooth, and silky, Greatest Hits: The Encore Collection consists of songs that will never be ravaged by time. If you’re looking to have your spine tingled and heart jingled, the Main Ingredient certainly fits the bill.
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