Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Five Stairsteps - Jackson 5 with better beats

Five Stairsteps
How could such clean cut kids be so damn funky?

Five Stairsteps - Don't Change Your Love

Five Stairsteps - O-o-h Child

OK, that's a big boast to make but I think I can back it up........Five Stairsteps were a sixties/seventies soul group more than a little reminiscent of the Jackson 5 with their catchy hooks and well worked harmonies, not to mention the fact that they were all related. Maybe because of their similarity the Stairsteps never really achieved the success they most definitely deserved.

Their music is without a doubt extremely funk and well produced with a real high energy feel to it. You can read a rather garbled account of the group's history here.

The first track I've got for you, Don't Change Your Love, is from their Curtis Mayfield produced album, Love's Happening, from 1968 and is my all time favorite of theirs, it's a Jackson style upbeat number with a superb trumpet hook that continues throughout the whole song. What really sells it for me however is the supreme chunky feel of the beats. No wonder this song has been sampled so many times (yeah I know it's another sampled song but how do you think I first find out about a lot of these artists?)

The second track is without doubt their biggest hit, it's the original version of O-o-h Child, from the album Step by Step, and has been covered too many times to count. It's an altogether more downbeat affair and, dare I say it, more than a little bit cheesy, but get past that and it's still a beautiful song. Oh yeah, it was also used in De La's Buddy apparently.......

You've no chance in hell of getting the original albums on CD but have a look round for the vinyl versions. In the meantime you can get both of these tracks plus a lot more on their best of album which you can buy HERE.

Oh, by the way, I'm away tomorrow so expect the next update on Thursday.


Deep Soul Junkie said...

Cool stuff, I've known about O-o-h Child for many years but I hadn't heard many of their other tracks, that DCYL track was solid.

Junior said...

Yeah their other work really deserves more recognition as well. For a couple of years in the late sixties early seventies they were churning out music as good as any other soul group out there.

I think they basically suffered by not having the power of motown behind them.

Anonymous said...

True...it was either Curtis Mayfield or Motown. Motown was "ripping" people off so it has been said. Unfortunately Curtis sounded like "old" R&B where Motown had hits...rip off or not.

Anonymous said...

Curtis Mayfield was one of the best song writers ever!! It rubbed off on Clarence Burke, Jr. This young man(at the time) was wiser than his years. They could be funky, but it was their romantic songs that really sent you swooning with the strings and tight harmonies, just simply beautiful. They were (are) a handsome family and i wished they had become bigger stars. They are a classic example what happens when you don't have the proper "machine" behind you. The music business is tough....being talented is just not enough.

Anonymous said...

were they a black or white group