Main Street People

by: The Four Tops

One of the first major defections from Motown, the Four Tops signed to ABC/Dunhill and immediately hit with the 1973 album Keeper of the Castle and its biggest single, "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got)." The follow-up, Main Street People, was produced by Steve Barri, Dennis Lambert, and Brian Potter. Although they all had a heavy pop resumé, they gave the Four Tops a strong L.A. pop/R&B sound that wasn't far from what Motown was doing at the time. Recorded at ABC Recording Studios with a cadre of session players, including Wilton Felder on bass and drummer Paul Humphrey, this was one of the finest of all of the group's ABC endeavors. The best track, the poignant, mid-tempo "I Just Can't Get You out of My Mind" is in the mold of the Spinners' "I'll Be Around," featuring a couple of choice bellows from lead singer Levi Stubbs. The warm and melodic "Am I My Brother's Keeper" displays the group's trademark left-of-center harmonies as well as the skill of the backing band. Main Street People loses steam however, during side two, as barren lyrics and uninspired arrangements make it less than essential. The title track, however, is a flawless mix of R&B and pop with a good arrangement and more smooth vocal riffs from the group. Main Street People may seem like sacrilege to some R&B fans, but it's actually better thought out than some of the groups 1968-1972 work with Motown. ~ Jason Elias

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