This late-60s, multiethnic, multinational soul ensemble is best known to U.S. audiences for its two Top 40 singles, â€œBaby, Now That Iâ€™ve Found Youâ€ and â€œBuild Me Up Buttercup.â€ Both hits, and a good deal of their other material, were co-written by producer Tony Macaulay, often with his regular writing partner John MacLeod. The band had two more hits in the UK (â€œBack on My Feet Againâ€ and â€œIn the Bad Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)â€), as well as a number of minor chart entries, but after only four years, and numerous personnel changes, they packed it in. Various members toured and recorded under variations of â€œThe Foundationsâ€ name throughout the 1970s, but itâ€™s the original material from 1967-1970 thatâ€™s featured here. Varese has included all of the groupâ€™s A-sides for Pye (UK) and Uni (US), including the UK-only â€œBaby, I Couldnâ€™t Seeâ€ and US-only â€œMy Little Chickadee,â€ a handful of B-sides and a pair of tracks from the bandâ€™s final album, Digging the Foundations.
The bandâ€™s 1967 introduction attached them to the backside of the British Invasion, and their association with Macauley gave their hits a pop breeziness. But their innate sound was more in line with Motown, Stax and American horn bands. Given the chance to record original material, the group showed off grittier soul, jazz and blues influences on the B-side â€œNew Directionâ€ and the late A-Side â€œIâ€™m Gonna Be a Rich Man.â€ That said, they could also write bubblegum, such as the B-side â€œSolomon Grundy,â€ and they picked up sunshine pop tunes that include â€œBaby, I Couldnâ€™t Seeâ€ and â€œTake a Girl Like You.â€ Vareseâ€™s sixteen track set (including mono single mixes on 1, 4-6, 11, 13 and 15) provides a good overview of the groupâ€™s charms, and the CDâ€™s screening with the rainbow swirl Uni label is a nice touch. For a more complete rendering of the groupâ€™s story, look for the out-of-print Build Me Up Buttercup – The Complete Pye Collection, but for most this is a good place to start. [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]