After more than 20 years as a group, the guys are now bigger than ever in Europe. Recordwise, plans are afoot for them to record with production maestro Thom Bell…
ALTHOUGH it has been a while since the Impressions were topping the charts, rest assured because they are still out there on the road and the next few weeks should see them securely back on the right recording road, too.
After a disappointing stay with Cotillion, there is every possibility that they will be appearing on a new label with their next release. But the surefire guarantee that they hold is that Thom Bell will be the producer.
"The paperwork has been finished so now it is just a matter of timing," an enthusiastic Fred Cash told me, during the group's standing room only week at Atlanta's prestigious Scarlett O'Hara night spot. We are actually still with Atlantic (Cotillion is a division of Atlantic) but that should be sorted out in the next few days, too. We feel that Thom's sound is just right for the direction we need to be heading in so we have pursued it all the way through.
"Nowadays, we go with whoever is best for the Impressions and leave the personality thing out of it. I have visited Thom's place in Seattle and it's just beautiful — I can't wait to get there and record! It will probably be the best studio we have ever recorded in as far as technicalities are concerned. Today, you need all the technical help you can get!"
Although the trio severed ties with Curtom some two years back, the parting was sufficiently amicable that they would consider going back — if the deal was right.
"We have never regretted leaving when we did because we felt that we had gotten as far as we could have got at that time," Fred explains. "We had reached a limit but we would be the first to admit that the deal with Cotillion hasn't worked out at all. And I don't blame them completely because the product hasn't been up to par. We just didn't give them the product to work so we can't blame them, can we?
"We know we need a change and that is why Thom Bell is coming into our lives and if Curtom were to approach us, we would consider it. We know we badly need a change in direction and although we'll keep our vocal sound, you'll see some changes in the music with Thom Bell. As it was in the old days, you'll see Sam (Gooden), Reggie (Torrian) and I sharing the leads.
"We have experimented with having four in the group but I think we'll stay at three now — it's the way we feel most comfortable and we know each other best this way.''
During their lean period in the States, the Impressions have not wasted their time because they are bigger in Europe now than they have ever been. In fact, the trio have only just returned from a twenty-nine day tour, during which time they played to packed houses every night. It's amazing when you consider that the Impressions have been together more than twenty years and yet it wasn't until 1971 that they first made the trip East to Europe.
"All that wasted time — man, it's a shame!" Fred reflects. "I guess we never had the right people pulling for us and we were handling most of the things for ourselves. But we're going back to doing it that way because you can control things if you are doing them for yourself, right? I just wish I had three of me!
"But the job in hand now is to re-establish the Impressions here in America. We'll work until the job is done because we know we can make it. Our immediate goal is to get a Gold record. Do you know that the Impressions still haven't got a Gold Record? "Finally Got Myself Together" sold more than 900,000 and some of the old hits such as "We're A Winner", "Keep On Pushing", "I'm So Proud" and "Amen" all went close."
The last six months has also seen all three members of the group join the trend to the South. Fred is back to living in Chattanooga, and Sam and Reggie are living now in Atlanta.
"Life is so much easier here," Fred smiles. "And the weather is so much better! All we need now is that Gold record and everything will be perfect!"
The prospect of the eternal Impressions working with Thom Bell spells perfection in my book so maybe Fred's golden dream will happen sooner than even he thinks.