Blessed with a warm, sweet voice, Major Lance was one of the leading figures of Chicago soul during the ’60s and the top-selling artist for OKeh Records during the decade.
Lance not only had a lovely voice, but his material was excellent. During the height of his success, the majority of his songs were written by Curtis Mayfield and produced by Carl Davis, and the pair developed a smooth, Latin-flavored sound that was punctuated by brass and layered with vocal harmonies, usually from the Impressions.
It was urban, uptown soul and while it was considerably less gritty than its Southern counterpart, its breezy rhythms and joyous melodies made songs like “The Monkey Time” and “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” some of the most popular good-time R&B of its era. Major Lance’s career declined significantly after he parted ways with Mayfield and Davis in the late ’60s, but his classic OKeh recordings remain some of the best-loved soul music of the decade.
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