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Main Ingredient
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Click here for a Main Ingredient sample:

Black Seeds Keep On Growing

You're My Inspiration

Rolling Down A Mountainside


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The Main Ingredient was viewed as purveyors of the sweet soul sound of the early 1970s but they were a bit more diverse than that label suggests.  The trio was able to shift from strident black pride anthems ("Black Seeds Keep On Growing") to serious love songs ("Just Don't Want To Be Lonely") with ease.  The first edition of the group was comprised of Donald MacPherson, Tony Sylvester and Luther Simmons and they had been making records since the mid 1960s before latching on to RCA and the guidance of Bert DeCoteaux, who wrapped their harmonies around his warm production.   There they scored with their version of the Impressions' "I'm So Proud" and "Spinning Around."

MacPherson died unexpectedly of leukemia in 1971 and Cuba Gooding stepped in as his replacement.  Gooding's voice carried with it an edge of desperation that MacPherson lacked, and under his vocal leadership, the Ingredient had their greatest success with "Everybody Plays the Fool," "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend," and "Rolling Down A Mountainside,"  all soul classics and remade by Isaac Hayes, Aaron Neville and Gooding  himself. 

Their touch on tearjerkers "Lonely" and "You've Been My Inspiration" earned them a reputation as balladeers and was the basis of their popularity with mature soul fans.  Top flight writers like Stevie Wonder and Leon Ware were often called on to compose their material, ensuring that the hits kept coming.   Gooding left for a brief solo career on Motown before rejoining in 1980.   1981's "Evening of Love" paired them with Patrick Adams and was their comeback and final hit.  They continued to record through the 1980s but didn't have any major moments to rival their earlier popularity.  Gooding had a dance hit with "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend" in 1983 on Streetwise.

Main Ingredient's Deepest Grooves

Main Ingredient (RCA, 1970)

Tasteful Soul (RCA, 1971)

Black Seeds (RCA, 1971)
The title song is an underrecognized slab of black power soul, something that MacPherson contributed to the group and wouldn't quite be replaced by Cuba Gooding.

Bittersweet (RCA, 1972)
Here Cuba Gooding makes his debut and makes an immediate splash with "Everybody Plays the Fool." 

Afrodisiac (RCA, 1973)
With the minor breakbeat cut "You Can Call Me Rover" plus a bunch of songs written and possibly produced by Stevie Wonder ("Superwoman," "Something Lovely").

Rolling Down A Mountainside (RCA, 1975)
Loads of Leon Ware-written tunes, which means that while this may not have been their most popular album on the charts, it is one of the best.

Tony Silvester - Magic Touch (Mercury, 1975)
The relatively unknown Silvester somehow persuaded Mercury to release his solo album, which is suprisingly solid.  The title song is an early disco cult favorite, and elsewhere Patrick Adams provides arrangements and, I suspect,   uncredited production.

I Only Have Eyes For You (RCA, 1981)
The comeback album with "Evening Of Love" was their last moment in the sun before falling out of favor with the changing taste of soul audiences.

Golden Classics (Collectables, 1989)

Greatest Hits (RCA, 1990)
The best of the many compilations on the Main Ingredient, including the highlights of both the Simmons and Gooding material.

A Quiet Storm (RCA, 1996)

Pure Magic (Magnatar, 2001)

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved. 

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