Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Three Degrees - The Three Degrees (1973)




Released in 1973

Recorded in Philadelphia

The debut album from one of the Philadelphia label's leading lights, the female vocal threesome beloved, apparently of Prince Charles. This is a pretty typical seventies soul album - riding on the back of three killer singles and one great instrumental and the rest is "filler". In this case, the filler is pretty good, however.

Firstly, the sound quality is excellent on this BBR (Big Break Records) remaster. Nice and warm and bassy and in good seventies stereo.

The group have taken a bit of flak in subsequent years for the track "I Like Being A Woman" which has Sheila Ferguson proclaiming that she doesn't want to be the equal of her man and she just wants his love. Written by a couple of men, ironically, that sort of song was ten-a-penny in seventies soul. It was all pretty harmless, really, she just wanted a bit of "good lovin'". Too much was written into it. However, the line "..that's when I become your slave..." raises eyebrows in Sheila's spoken part.

The three singles are the vibrant, accusatory "Dirty Old Man"; the iconic, beautifully melodic and harmonious "When Will I See You Again" and the slightly lesser hit in the still catchy "Year Of Decision". The instrumental is the infectious "TSOP" (The sound of Philadelphia)" by MFSB featuring the girls on occasional vocals. Tracks like "Can't You See What You're Doing To Me" and the soulful "A Woman Needs A Good Man", with its addictively funky and brassy mid-song break, are pretty typical of the rest of the album's material. "I Didn't Know" is a punchy, upbeat song that could easily have made a good single. "If And When" is a big, dramatic ballad.

Perfectly enjoyable for a half hour's listen. Nothing unbelievably special though. Well, actually, "When Will I See You Again" is special, it has to be said.

C+

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