Birth Day is the fourth album by the now-solidified Louisville, Kentucky group New Birth. It released in 1972 on RCA Records, and it was produced by mentor Harvey Fuqua and his uncredited assistant Vernon Bullock, and was the album that put the group on the map. Consisting of the instrumental group The Nite-Liters, vocalists Love, Peace & Happiness (Ann Bogan, Leslie and Melvin Wilson), Londee Loren (Wiggins), Bobby Downs and Allen Frey, this would be the last album in which Ann would appear, as she succumbed to the pressure put on her by her mother to stop singing and raise her two children herself.
Starting out with the massive hit “I Can Understand It” (originally by Bobby Womack), led by Leslie Wilson, they followed their trend of covers with an exceptional version of The Stylistics‘ “Stop, Look & Listen” and Buffy Sainte-Marie‘s “Until It’s Time For You To Go“, featuring future member of The Supremes Susaye Greene. When Harvey was unable to get the performance he wanted out of Londee Loren, he got Susaye to do the vocals. which he released under the New Birth’s name. (That’s Harvey and Carolyn Willis of The Honey Cone speaking the intro). Londee, however, more than met the challenge in live performances and came to develop a much more mature voice on future releases.
In addition, the album featured the funk jam “Got To Get A Knutt“. which featured a play on words on various television commercial slogans (a theme that was duplicated by Crown Heights Affair on their song “Do It The French Way“).
A1 I Can Understand It 6:15
A2 Until It’s Time for You to Go 5:31
A3 Got to Get a Knutt 7:01
B1 Theme from “Buck & the Preacher” 4:41
B2 Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart) 4:50
B3 Easy, Evil 4:03
B4 You Are What I’m All About 3:50
Under the banner the New Birth (from which they would later drop the “the”), Birth Day was the first album from the self-contained band, which came charging out of the starting gate with the gritty track “I Can Understand It“. With vocals comparable to Bobby Womack’s, who also penned the number for himself, Leslie Wilson stepped into the lyric with total conviction. His vibrancy is augmented by a funky backing track, primarily a rumbling bass and soulful backing vocals.
The single peaked at number four on the Billboard R&B charts after 12 weeks. The follow-up release was “Until It’s Time for You to Go“. Far from its predecessor, its arrangement is geared more toward a crossover audience, as it was previously a number 40 hit for Elvis Presley in 1972. It peaked at number 21 inside of ten weeks on the R&B charts for the New Birth. Nothing else made any chart noise from this album, but that does not reflect on the quality of this project. “Got to Get a Knutt” has a rather racy title, and rightly so. But the song takes on different themes within its mostly musical journey, including animated remarks taken from commercial jingles, riddles, and the like.
In addition to the urban-flavored “Theme from Buck & the Preacher” included here, the group gives its own rendition of the classic “Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)“, which does not live up to the original by the Stylistics and is the only marginal track (All Music Review).
As noted New Birth had hits under three different names – The Nite-Liters, Love, Peace & Happiness and ofcouse New Birth as the main group. Get some of their albums from our back pages here