TIR 65: Returning to the Age of L.T.D.’s Unlimited Power

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Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 65 (three segments): Group co-founder- horns player-composer-producer Carle Vickers and guitarist-composer-arranger John McGhee of one of the finest and most popular soul-funk bands of the 1970s and 1980s — Love, Togetherness and Devotion, better known as L.T.D. Founded as Love Men Ltd. in 1968 (50th anniversary in 2018) in Greensboro, N.C., the core band would later solidify its lineup with additional members including future singing superstar Jeffrey Osborne and his brother Billy Osborne. Changing the name to L.T.D., the group signed to A&M records and released its self-titled debut album in 1974 and later that year its follow-up, Gittin Down. Although both came and went relatively quietly in terms of sales and radio play, the latter set the tone for what was to come with choice funk tracks like “Don’t Lose Your Cool” and “Eldorado Joe.”

Switching producers, getting more outside songwriting help and having McGhee join the group, L.T.D. broke out in 1976 as one of the period’s premier R&B bands with the Love to the World Album that contained the smash crossover hit, “Love Ballad.” Here, the band’s bold, orchestral and gospel-infused sound coalesced to take the listener on an aural journey full of varied tones and tempos. The record ushered in a string of five consecutive top 10 R&B albums. The others were Something to Love, Togetherness, Devotion and Shine On. Highlight and hit tracks during that run included “Age of the Showdown,” “Back in Love Again,” “We Party Hearty,” “Never Get Enough of Your Love,” “Material Things,” “Holding On,” “We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love,” “Jam,” “Concentrate on You,” “You Fooled Me,” “Together Forever,” “One on One,” “Stand Up L.T.D.,” “Dance N Sing N,” “Stranger,” “Where Did Our Love Go Wrong,” “Getaway” and “Shine On.”

During that golden period, L.T.D. rivaled contemporaries like Earth, Wind and Fire and the Commodores, but it was not to last as Jeffrey Osborne left to pursue a very successful solo career. The group soldiered on with a final album for A&M in 1981 called Love Magic that did respectably well and included a top 10 R&B dance cut in “Kickin’ Back.” Unfortunately, L.T.D. had lost its unique vocal identity and by the time of its final studio album, For You, in 1983, had adopted the synth-driven funk sound of that era and while competent lacked a distinctive stamp. McGhee had left prior to that last album and both he and Vickers went on to work on myriad projects in the ensuing years.

In this in-depth interview, Vickers and McGhee talk about how L.T.D. was formed; the many things that made the band original and special; the recording sessions, songs and albums; amazing tales from the road; parting ways with Jeffrey Osborne; believing in the magical power of music; what they are up to today; and many other insights and stories to boot. It is time to fall back in love again with Love, Togetherness & Devotion.

Recorded September 2018

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