The psychedelic soul group’s final two Motown albums. Produced by Norman Whitfield.
A couple of years ago, as part of our ongoing series of reissues of repertoire from the Motown catalogue, we were delighted to give the CD premiere to three Gordy albums by producer Norman Whitfield’s pet project the Undisputed Truth. The group’s second album having already been issued on CD, our package embraced the first, third and fourth. No sooner had we done so when Motown fans started to lobby for the reissue of “Cosmic Truth” and “Higher Than High”, the two Gordy albums by the group’s second line-up, which we decided to pursue if sales of the first collection proved healthy. Happily they did.
Norman Whitfield put the Undisputed Truth together in 1970 as a vehicle for his productions. In 1973 the two original female members of the group decided to call it a day and, rather than audition individual members, Whitfield opted to bring in established Detroit group the Magictones to replace them. In early 1974 they joined remaining original Joe Harris to record the Undisputed Truth’s second biggest hit ‘Help Yourself’ – heard here in a remade version; the original can be heard on our earlier set as part of the “Down To Earth” album, which featured one side of material by the new line-up, and one by the original trio.
In late 1974 the group’s image underwent a massive change, as regular attire made way for space-age clothing, silver face make-up and white Afro wigs. Their music changed with the image, taking on a harder, funkier sound akin to what George Clinton was accomplishing with Parliament and Funkadelic. The public accepted these changes without any complaint and, for a while, the hits kept coming until disco won out over P-Funk and the group’s music took a further direction change away from Motown.
A handful of tracks have been available previously on CD as part of “Best Of” anthologies, but this 2CD package marks the first time these two albums have been reissued in their entirety. The booklet contains a wealth of rare illustrations and notes featuring quotes from a new interview with Virginia McDonald, the lone female member of the group’s second line-up and co-lead singer on ‘Help Yourself’ with Joe Harris. “Cosmic Truth” and “Higher Than High” have stood the test of time well and, although they contain no major smashes, there are hits on each album that will be well remembered by Motown aficionados. If anything, they both sound better with the passing of years.