Today’s Track of the Day comes to us from The Voices of East Harlem, a soul/gospel group from Harlem in the early ’70s. Many of the group’s later recordings were produced by Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield for Just Sunshine Records, but this particular track (a cover of the popular Buffalo Springfield song) is off their 1970 debut album, Right On Be Free, released on Elektra. There’s a clear gospel influence to be heard in this track (and the rest of the record), which owes to the group’s origins as an inner-city community choir. At its height, the group would perform with upwards of twenty members, all of whom were said to be between the ages of 12 and 21. The group also planned a second album on Elektra, which would have been produced by Donny Hathaway and was supposedly entitled Brothers and Sisters. Much of that previously unreleased material can now be heard on Elektra’s rerelease of Right On Be Free.
Their later works—songs like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Little People”—move away from the group’s gospel-inflected sound, towards a sweeter style characteristic of much of the popular soul music of the ’70s. Their 1973 self-titled on Just Sunshine comes highly recommended as well, but be advised it’s a very different record.