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Spice - Let There Be Spice MP3

  • Performer: Spice
  • Title: Let There Be Spice
  • Genre: Soul / Funk
  • Country: US
  • Record source: CDr, Album, Reissue
  • Released: 2013
  • Style: Soul, Disco
  • Label: Essential Media Group
  • Cat#: 9 94231 98362 7
  • MP3 album: 1203 mb
  • FLAC album: 1148 mb
  • Rating: 4.2/5
  • Votes: 635
Spice - Let There Be Spice MP3


1Fool In Love
2Everything Is You
3You've Got Me Girl
4What Do I Mean
5I'm So Glad To Say
6Happy Music
7The Last Time
8Don't Fight It
9Do It Nice


CategoryArtistTitle (Format)LabelCategoryCountryYear
TSG-804Spice Let There Be Spice ‎(LP, Album)TSG RecordsTSG-804US1976
THCD-206Spice Let There Be Spice ‎(CD, Album, RE, Pap)Think! RecordsTHCD-206Japan2013
THLP-207Spice Let There Be Spice ‎(LP, Album, Ltd, RE)Think! RecordsTHLP-207Japan2013


℗ © MMXI (=> possibly released 2011?)


Reviews of the Spice - Let There Be Spice (1):
I had this album on my Wants List for well over a decade. The original came out in 1976 on the highly collectable TSG Records label - think equally unobtainable 1619 Bad Ass Band and Ricardo Marrero originals. TSG releases are super rare as they supposedly were never intended to be commercially successful. The idea was apparently to press up LPs using either demo tapes from unknown groups or bootlegging in some cases previously-released material, and dump the records. The resulting paper loss of the production costs were used to offset tax liabilities. Bizarrely, some of the releases were of high quality and consequently prices on the collector circuit have gone into incredibly crazy territory – we’re talking up to $1000.
Up until a few years ago nothing was known known about the players on this recording. The story goes that around 2010/11 a record shop owner in New York posted the audio of one of the tracks on his blog and a lady in her 80s got in touch identifying the lead vocals to be that of her son Richard Brown Jr. An interview with him in around 2013 revealed the following background story:
Born and raised in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx he was picking up musical chops as a child: initially guitar, later singing and piano. His mum sang in a Presbytarian church choir which he also joined; he quotes his parents’ focus on his musical education as essential to him staying out of trouble and surviving a tough environment. Musical influences included his great uncle J.C. Higgenbotham who was a jazz trombonist with Duke Ellington and Count Basie as well as his great aunt Irene Higgenbotham who wrote Billie Holiday’s ”Good Morning Heart Ache”.
Brown was dating the niece of the Main Ingredient’s Donald McPherson who gave him some insight into writing and arranging and ended up inspiring and mentoring him. McPherson also suggested the band name Spice Of Life when Brown got together with his friends Cedric Clemens and Michael Sapp to form a vocal group. Sapp left the group (and died at an early age) and Chares Dunn completed the trio again. As a vocal group they went to the Apollo for Amateur Night competitions, won the first week and tied against Stefanie Mills in the 2nd and Stefanie as well as Bobbi Humphrey in the 3rd. Brown organised a band to back them which included drummer Leroy Clouden, Darryll Myrick on bass and David Laracuente on guitar. Other players remained unnamed and the line-up kept changing, while the name got shortened to just “Spice”.
Stephanie Mills’ manager Wiley Hicks showed an interest in the band and introduced them to boxing promoter and financier Don King and serial entrepreneur Lloyd Price who had some hits in his own name but also ran a number of record labels, including LPG (Lloyd Price Group). The band started becoming his opening act and backing band for a while. Over a period of 7-8 months LPG invested in numerous recording sessions at Hit Factory and other NYC studios. Strings were recorded at Virginia Church Falls, VA and Leon Pendarvis of SNL was tasked to help with overall arrangements. Spice recorded a whole album worth of material (Brown recalls that 4 or five songs were recorded by the full band and a few more tracks by unnamed studio musicians) but only a 45 (Everything Is You B/W What Do We Mean) was ever released on LPG records. Brown says there was even art work for the album (not the one later used by TSG) but it was (in his own words) a bit foggy to him what happened. He only remembers that splitting $500 between seven band members after the occasional gig didn’t really leave much after gas money and instrument expenses were paid and one night while packing up equipment after a gig “everybody was just fed up from not moving forward and the band split up”.
However, the whole album did get “released” by TSG though but seemingly never saw any commercial distribution. In fact, Brown wasn’t even aware of the TSG release for approximately 30 years and found out about it when his octogenarian mother stumbled across it in the blog of Jonathan Sklute, owner of Good Records NYC and recognised his voice.
I have to admit that I had never heard the original album nor the recently released Japanese CD reissue. When I saw this CD cheap on Amazon I didn’t hesitate long and ordered it. What arrived was one of those dreaded Essential Media Group CD-Rs. The label owners (Henry Stone affiliate Paul Klein of Hot Productions and Rama Barwick) own the rights to a number of back catalogs and I give them credit for making some rare stuff available again, but apart from that heart-sinking feeling when you get a commercially released CD-R this one here really leaves a sour taste: It boast “Digitally Remastered” on the cover. Well, this is obviously not copied from any master tapes but certainly from a vinyl source. I can not compare to an original but I have my suspicion that there might have been other “digital” transfer steps in between. After all, MP3 is digital, right…!?!?! The sound quality is certainly low-fi – which is a real shame given the content:

The album starts with “Everything Is You” a sweet mid-70s R&B ballad which was the aforementioned single on LPG from this album.
“Happy Music” is an uptempo disco track and if this had better sound quality I could see this track getting quite some attention for it’s quality – check out the synth solo in the last third of the song.
Similarly, “Do It Nice” is a good dancer.
“I'm So Glad To Say” sounds like the tape (or vinyl?) wasn’t running at the constant speed during recording (or transfer). It’s a nice albeit average track rendered almost unlistenable. At a bit over three minutes total length it unfortunately also suffers from a fade out that starts a minute before the track is over.
“The Last Time” is a beautiful mid-tempo soulpop song that benefits greatly from the top notch vocal delivery and arrangements. These guys were really talented. The strings are also smooth. It would be fantastic to get this on Hi-Fi quality. Very similar verdict on “You've Got Me Girl” though it’s a bit below average.
“Don't Fight It” is a sweet falsetto soul ballad which I would love to hear in a quality reproduction.
“Fool In Love” is a great downtempo affair with powerful vocal and string arrangements, but again suffering greatly from the low-fi reproduction.
“What Do I Mean” takes us back to uptempo disco territory without being a particularly strong closing track for the album.

Overall verdict: A fascinating and somewhat mysterious background story adds to the allure of this record. However, it’s not simply the rarity of the original but the actual quality of the performance that puts this into holy grail territory for soul and disco collectors. It’s great to have somebody reissue this (hopefully this is a licensed and legal job…) but Essential Music Group certainly did a botched job in making this a really shitty sounding CD-R and it’s honestly a joke to sell this with the cover advertising it as “digitally remastered”.

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