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The Natural Four

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iTunes Review

The Natural Four’s eponymous 1974 album is one of the great lost classics of harmony soul, largely forgotten in spite of its Lifesavers-colored album cover. The effort was a proud product of Curtom, the label and production team founded in Chicago by Curtis Mayfield. Like everything produced for Curtom, the single “Can This Be Real?” bears the angelically soft touch of Mayfield’s hand, although the album was in fact overseen by Mayfield’s protégé Leroy Hutson, a musical mastermind in his own right. Like Hutson’s own albums from the same period, the Natural Four LP is masterfully conceived from top to bottom and includes little touches that make the songs unique: a murmuring guitar on “Love That Really Counts,” the forward motion of a reggae rhythm on “This Is What’s Happening Now.” This should be considered not only one of the greatest Chicago sweet soul albums, but a work of depth and maturity both in terms of lyrical and musical content. Don’t let the Lifesavers colors fool you, as they have so many before.

Customer Reviews

Old school mellow vibe

This brought me back, the main tracks are Can this be Real, and My favorite: Love that Really Counts. The songs deserved more notice than they got, and it gives you that old school R&B flava.


Oh my God, here it is! I have been looking for this CD/LP for years and itunes has it. These guys are from oakland, my home town, we were living in LA at the time when this came out. Awesome tunes on the entire album! 'Can This Be Real?' Finally I get to hear it after all of this years, GOODNESS! Thanks, itunes.

Old school jam

This is an old school track that is a must have for any R&B ipod. The group name may not be familiar but when you hear the song you say H2theL this is a cut.


Formed: 1967 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s

The Natural Four began their quest for stardom in Oakland, CA, in the mid-'60s, landing their first deal with a local outfit called Boola Boola Records. Initially, they had two 1969 releases on Boola Boola -- "You Did This for Me" and "Why Should We Stop Now" -- that did well in the San Francisco/Oakland area. ABC Records took over distribution and pushed "Why Should We Stop Now" to number 31 R&B in 1969. At this junction the group consisted of lead singer Chris James, Allen Richardson, John January,...
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