Cuba Gooding, Sr. has one of the most distinctive voices in soul music. While he is best known for the songs he recorded as lead singer with The Main Ingredient, Cuba also pursued a solo career that commenced here with two albums recorded in 1978 and 1979 respectively for Motown Records in Hollywood.
In the late 70s Cuba took time away from The Main Ingredient to record “The 1st Cuba Gooding Album” and “Love Dancer” which Expansion proudly presents here remastered together on CD for the first time from the original master tapes. The debut album was produced and largely written by the team of Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter who had earlier pop credentials for artists including The Four Tops (“Ain’t No Woman Like The One I Got”) and Tavares (“It Only Takes A Minute”). There are splendid moments here, in particular the two-step magic of “All I Can Give You Is Love” and Cuba’s reading of Patti Austin’s “We’re In Love”. Michael L. Smith came on board as arranger and producer of “Love Dancer” which didn’t hide attempts to win favour on the disco scene with a handful of upbeat four-to-the-floor outings on the album. “Disco Royale” is the best of these, a song not sold on lyrical content, but the intense feel good arrangement, a musical masterpiece with dancing strings, jazzy keyboards and vibes supporting Cuba’s vocal. Michael L. Smith became Michael Lovesmith, later an artist himself on Motown having written significantly at the company, his finest contribution for Cuba Gooding being “I’m Yours Now”, a song they wrote together that shines on this album and a timeless soul classic. Meanwhile “Trust Me” is a quality reading of an Al Johnson song that later became the title track of an album for Jean Carn on Motown when she too covered the song.
Cuba Gooding, Sr. re-joined The Main Ingredient in 1980 but in 1983 had some solo success with a version of one of the group’s recordings, the Brian Auger song “Happiness Is Just Around The Bend”. Cuba’s son is Cuba Gooding, Jr, film actor and star of “Jerry Maguire” and “A Few Good Men”.