Dick Jensen was one of the first artists to sign with the now-legendary Philadelphia International Records label in 1971. Nowadays it seems that he had little in common with the other artists which made the label famous later on, but at the time - once you heard the power and soul in his vocal delivery - it all made perfect sense. And with the label main men Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff behind the scenes, it seemed as if Dick Jensen had finally found the perfect home for his energetic style of Soul.
Like many of the label's acts, Jensen received musical assistance from PIR's house band, the illustrious MFSB. The band on the recording sessions for his self-titled album featured Ronnie Baker (bass), Larry Washington (congas, bongos), Earl Young (drums), Lenny Pakula (organ), Leon Huff (piano), Vincent Montana (vibraphone) and guitarists Bobby Eli, Norman Harris, Roland Chambers and TJ Tindall. Backing vocals were provided by Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson and Evette Benton.
Along with arrangements by Bobby Martin, Vince Montana and Norman Harris, and production by Bunny Sigler, Thom Bell and Gamble & Huff themselves (who also handled a majority of the songwriting) "Dick Jensen", released in February 1973, was as smooth and slick as anything else the label had released but was far more Pop-oriented.
Unfortunately, upon release, critics and Soul fans didn't know what to make of it. Jensen's talent was undeniable, but the album was not what they expected from the house that Gamble & Huff had built and the project itself was lost in the confusion. More information about the album are available here and here, now let's go back to May 1971 when "Going Up On the Mountain / Three Cheers For Love" was released...
An autographed Dick Jensen picture taken during a 1970 live performance
Here's the track list for this 7" single:
01. Going Up On the Mountain (Mono Version) (2:53)
02. Three Cheers For Love (Mono Version) (3:28)
Both tracks were remastered in July 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.
Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
"Going Up On the Mountain / Three Cheers To Love" was released by Philadelphia International Records as one of their fourth single, with catalogue number ZS7 3504. The copy I own is a promotional item for radio stations and contains mono versions of the tracks; I guess that the official release was stereo, but I'm not sure about it...
The single came in a PIR company sleeve and was re-released later by Epic in the Netherlands sometimes in 1973 with a proper cover (see here for more details); both the tracks included were written by Gamble & Huff.
The Gospel groove of "Going Up On the Mountain" is infectious and Jensen really gets into the performance, which could be an early indication of the faith he would pursue later in life. The horns and backing vocals take the song up a notch, but his fiery vocals take it to a fevered level.
"Three Cheers To Love" may fall in the Easy Listening category, but the strings and horns (arranged by Bobby Martin) and understated guitar work are definitely soulful. Jensen's vocals recall the R&B-infected side of David Clayton-Thomas and Gary Puckett mixed with the smooth delivery of Lou Rawls: he sounds comfortable, laid back and confident.
Most of the text on this page was sourced from the "Dick Jensen" reissue liner notes written by Stephen SPAZ Schnee. The CD was released by Big Break Records in 2013 and is currently the only available Jensen album, I strongly encourage you to buy a copy of this great long forgotten masterpiece!
More information about Dick Jensen is available here:
I'm currently compiling a Dick Jensen biography, the first part of this work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972 and is available here.
I'm also trying to compile a Dick Jensen exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.
Last but not least, I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.
All my posts dedicated to Dick Jensen on this blog are available here.
I will post more Dick Jensen stuff in the next months, if you have any other useful information about him and his releases or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!