The rest of the story

Much of what I know about about soul music comes from listening first to AM radio in the early ’70s, then FM radio for the rest of the decade. However, mine tends to be a wide but shallow pool at times.

I plead guilty as charged when it comes to the Chi-Lites. I long knew them only for their smooth, gentle love songs, the radio hits — “Have You Seen Her” from 1971 and “Oh Girl” from 1972.

A short while back, I heard “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People,” a powerfully funky protest song featuring Creadel “Red” Jones’ bass voice. A bass? With the Chi-Lites? Head asplode. It’s from 1971, done along the lines of the stuff done by the Temptations at the time, and oh, how I dug the Temptations.

So I started digging — and digging for — the Chi-Lites, who came out of Chicago and worked together for a decade before hitting it big in the early ’70s. I recently found tonight’s record for a dollar. It’s a delightful mix of those smooth, sweet sounds and the funkier stuff.

As the liner notes on the Brunswick Records album jacket say: “Eugene Record, Marshall Thompson, Robert ‘Squirrel’ Lester and Creadel ‘Red’ Jones are the four stars of this amazing quartet.” Record sings lead, Thompson and Lester complement him and Jones’ bass anchors it all.

In the late ’50s, Record and Lester started out with another singer, Clarence Johnson, in a group called the Chanteurs. Thompson and Jones were a group called the Desideros. About 1960, they joined forces and became the Hi-Lites. In 1964, they became Marshall and the Chi-Lites, the latter reflecting their Chicago roots. Not long after, Johnson left the group, and they went simply as the Chi-Lites. It wasn’t until they signed with Brunswick Records in 1968 that they started to make it nationally. Their peak years were 1969 to 1973.

Thompson and Lester continue to perform as the Chi-Lites along with Frank Reed, who joined them as lead singer almost 20 years ago, after Record left the group. Record and Jones have since died.

Enough talk. As those liner notes say, “stoke up your stereo and treat yourself to a generous helping” of the Chi-Lites. Here’s Side 1.

chilitesgivemore powerlp

“Yes I’m Ready (If I Don’t Get To Go),” “We Are Neighbors,” “I Want To Pay You Back,” “Have You Seen Her” and “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People,” the Chi-Lites, from “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People,” 1971. It runs 20:40.

Record — the lead singer — also produced this album, did some of the arrangements and wrote or co-wrote seven of the nine songs.

Explore posts in the same categories: May 2009

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One Comment on “The rest of the story”

  1. Darren Cubie Says:

    The Legendary Chi Lites Son Families Story Saga Of Music Legacy Corruption And Corruption(FOR RED’S SAKE) GIVE MORE POWER TO THE PEOPLE

    -Synopsis –

    The son of an R&B legend tells the incredible but true story of a family torn apart by greed, corruption and the systematic abuse of black artists in the United States. Darren Cubie grew up in St. Louis not knowing why assassination attempts, FBI investigations, and witness protection programs weren’t supposed to be a ’normal’ part of life. With the hall of fame success of the iconic soul group known as the Chi-Lites, Darren’s father, founding member Credel “Red” Jones came a terrible price. Like so many other black artists of the day, the devil was in the details in the form of contracts and agreements with the mob filtered thru corrupt record executives and banksters. The bitter ending of Creadel’s journey in 1994, penniless on the streets of L.A., has spurred Darren on to become a champion for artists everywhere who’ve suffered from this decades-old system of abuse.

    -Main Characters –

    Darren Cubie, founder of Entertainers Against Corruption tells the story of Creadel “Red” Jones of the iconic Chi-Lites, the horrific betrayal by his mother Deborah Jones and aunt Regina Cubie and a family ripped apart by an industry of greed. It is thru the telling of the tale that positive change is achieved.

    -Story Structure –

    The documentary will feature archival footage of classic Chi-Lites performances as well as references to several R&B icons both past and present (i.e. Jackie Wilson, the Jacksons, Beyonce). Primarily the story is about Darren’s survival in the face of this machine that threatened to grind him and his family into the dirt. The refusal to bend to the systematic abuse the led Creadel to his tragic demise is Darren’s mission – changing the system, one story at a time. Throughout the recollection of the sad past of Darren’s life should be a present-day bridge showing his efforts to reverse things on behalf of artists everywhere. The day to day hustle of being the voice behind Entertainers Against Corruption. Ultimately we should see Darren continue to recruit other R&B and industry stars to the cause to not let his story repeat itself.

    -Style –

    The flashbacks can have a lo-fi look to them and the present day footage can be shot in a stylized way with go pro kinds of cameras to capture the immediacy of Darren’s day to day mission.

    -Format and other production information –

    The documentary will be shot digitally and transferred to film for theatrical release. Locations: Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles. Timeframe: 1958-present

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