The 16 tracks in this volume from Black Tulip are: 1. The Court Of Love; 2. The Beginning Of The End; 3. It's A Groovy World; 4. Toshisumasu; 5. Which One Should I Choose?; 6. Memories; 7. Dawn Of A New Day; 8. Harper Valley PTA; 9. Tables Turned; 10. This Guy's In Love With You; 11. (Working My Way Back In) Funky Thing; 12. A Hard Days Night; 13. It's All Over; 14. Got To Get You; 15. Little Green Apples; 16. People Got To Be Free; 17. Sentimental Man.
The Unifics ( lead Al Johnson, tenors Michel Ward and Greg Cook, baritone Harold Worthington) first formed up at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and began their recording career with Kapp Records, itself launched in 1954 by David Kapp, with their first release, The Court Of Love, becoming their best ever on Kapp 935 b/w Which One Should I Choose? In October-November 1968 it peaked at # 3 R&B and # 25 Billboard Pop Hot 100 with its unique mix of Johnson's beseeching vocal, mock court room deliberations and narrative portions.
The follow-up The Beginning Of My End didn't fare too badly either, reaching # 9 R&B/# 36 Hot 100 in the December 1968-January 1969 stretch b/w Sentimental Man on Kapp 957. After that, however, the results were modest at best with It's A Groovy World stalling at # 27 R&B and # 97 Hot 100 in May 1969 b/w Memories on Kapp 985, and their final nationally-charting single, Toshisumasu, managing just a # 36 R&B in in August 1969 on Kapp 2026 b/w It's All Over. Their last release at the label, Got To Get You b/w a re-release of Memories on Kapp 2058 failed to make any charts later in 1969.
In 1970, both Ward and Worthington departed, their replacements being Tom Fauntleroy and Marvin Brown (later changed to Khalil Bilal), and in 1971 they had one release for Jerry Butler's Detroit-based Fountain Records, Dawn Of A New Day/(Working My Way Back In) Funky Things which failed on its May release on Fountain F-100. The group disbanded in 1972.
All the released sides mentioned above are here, while tracks 8, 9, 10, 12, 15 and 16 were all part of their only Kapp LP, "Sittin' In At The Court Of Love" which was released in 1968 as Kapp KS-3582. In 2004, Johnson and Fauntleroy re-formed the group with new members Garrett Hall and Charlie Lockhart and, for CD Baby, cut the album Unifics Return containing: 1. I Want You To Have It; 2. Anything For My Ev'rything; 3. Any One Can Tell You; 4. Gypsy Woman; 5. My One And Only; 6. Something/Make It With You; 7. You Gotta Let Me Know; 8. Lifetime And A Half; 9. Long Way To Forever; 1. What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?; 11. This Is The Night We Love; 12. Just As You Are; 13. Victims of 9/11.
This release of their original material has good sound reproduction and provides thorough coverage of a group whose sound was far better than their commercials results, all of which makes this a 5-star purchase.
On February 20, 1990 original member Harold Worthington was shot to death at age 42.