Caption: The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie
The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie  

The First Family of Soul! - Step By Step By Step

From: Howard Burchette
Series: Soul Roots
Length: 58:00

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The Five Stairsteps, The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie, The Stairsteps, The Invisible Mans Band and Keni Burke are the First Family of Soul. They performed on the national scene thee years before The Jackson Five arrived at Motown. This special show is in three parts. SEGMENT ONE - is the early Curtis Mayfield years. SEGMENT TWO - are the years in-between 1970 and 1971 when the group recorded two albums by producer Stan Vincent. This resulted in their signature song "OOh Child". SEGMENT THREE - contains productions by Clarence Burke Jr. and Keni Burke. This also includes music from the Invisible Mans Band and solo work from Keni Burke. Read the full description.

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The Five Stairsteps are from Chicago and are a family act. They are Alohe, Clarence, James, Dennis and Kenny Burke . Their story begins when their mother Mrs. Betty Burke organized her children for a school fund raiser and talent show and she called her five kids “The Five Stairsteps ”. They never lost a talent contest eventually winning a recording contract with a local record company. Mr. Clarence Burke, Sr. the father of the Five Stairsteps, arranged for them to audition for Fred Cash of the Impressions . This led to a recording contact with Curtis Mayfield’s new record label Windy C in 1966. Their first release was You Waited Too Long . An album produced by Curtis Mayfield soon followed in 1967 containing several classic hits featuring the lead vocals of Clarence Burke, Jr. and James Burke plus the smooth “Stairsteps harmony”. The songs World of Fantasy, Come Back and Danger She’s A Stranger were hits from the album. Most of the songs were written by 16 year old Clarence Burke Jr. and Gregory Fowler.

            In 1968 the group released an LP on Buddah Records produced by 17 year old Clarence Burke, Jr. Some of the arrangements were made by Johnny Pate . The LP entitled Our Family Portrait contained at least one song from each family member singing lead or a duet. The album contained the hits Something’s Missing, A Million To One, and Under The Spell of Your Love . They were billed in 1968 and 1969 as the 5 Stairsteps & Cubie . Three ½ year old Cubie appeared with his older siblings on stage during this period.

            In 1969 the Burkes returned to Curtis Mayfield who produced their third LP entitled Loves Happening . It was released on Mayfield’s record label Curtom . Some of the songs were arranged by Donnie Hathaway . The hits from the LP were Don’t Change Your Love, Baby Make Me Feel So Good and Stay Close To Me . Two other songs were released that year which were not on the LP were called Madame Mary and the hit We Must Be In Love .

In 1970 they returned back to the Buddah label working with Neil Bogart and Cecil Holmes who teamed them with producer Stan Vincent . The result was Ooh Child , which became a cross over international hit. The Stairsteps would record two albums with Vincent.

In 1972 several of the group's members decided to leave the music business and focus on their personal lives. They would regroup again in 1976 for an album released on George Harrison's label entitled 2nd Resurrection . Joining the Stairsteps would be Billy Preston who produced the record.

            After 2nd Resurrection most of the group went back to their private businesses.   Keni Burke became a very successful studio musician and solo artist and Clarence Burke Jr. released two albums as The Invisible Mans Band .

             This is a small outlook on their history, step by step by step.

 

Click on this link for Clarence Burke Jr .'s official WEB page:

www.clarenceburkejr.com

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Piece Description

The Five Stairsteps are from Chicago and are a family act. They are Alohe, Clarence, James, Dennis and Kenny Burke . Their story begins when their mother Mrs. Betty Burke organized her children for a school fund raiser and talent show and she called her five kids “The Five Stairsteps ”. They never lost a talent contest eventually winning a recording contract with a local record company. Mr. Clarence Burke, Sr. the father of the Five Stairsteps, arranged for them to audition for Fred Cash of the Impressions . This led to a recording contact with Curtis Mayfield’s new record label Windy C in 1966. Their first release was You Waited Too Long . An album produced by Curtis Mayfield soon followed in 1967 containing several classic hits featuring the lead vocals of Clarence Burke, Jr. and James Burke plus the smooth “Stairsteps harmony”. The songs World of Fantasy, Come Back and Danger She’s A Stranger were hits from the album. Most of the songs were written by 16 year old Clarence Burke Jr. and Gregory Fowler.

            In 1968 the group released an LP on Buddah Records produced by 17 year old Clarence Burke, Jr. Some of the arrangements were made by Johnny Pate . The LP entitled Our Family Portrait contained at least one song from each family member singing lead or a duet. The album contained the hits Something’s Missing, A Million To One, and Under The Spell of Your Love . They were billed in 1968 and 1969 as the 5 Stairsteps & Cubie . Three ½ year old Cubie appeared with his older siblings on stage during this period.

            In 1969 the Burkes returned to Curtis Mayfield who produced their third LP entitled Loves Happening . It was released on Mayfield’s record label Curtom . Some of the songs were arranged by Donnie Hathaway . The hits from the LP were Don’t Change Your Love, Baby Make Me Feel So Good and Stay Close To Me . Two other songs were released that year which were not on the LP were called Madame Mary and the hit We Must Be In Love .

In 1970 they returned back to the Buddah label working with Neil Bogart and Cecil Holmes who teamed them with producer Stan Vincent . The result was Ooh Child , which became a cross over international hit. The Stairsteps would record two albums with Vincent.

In 1972 several of the group's members decided to leave the music business and focus on their personal lives. They would regroup again in 1976 for an album released on George Harrison's label entitled 2nd Resurrection . Joining the Stairsteps would be Billy Preston who produced the record.

            After 2nd Resurrection most of the group went back to their private businesses.   Keni Burke became a very successful studio musician and solo artist and Clarence Burke Jr. released two albums as The Invisible Mans Band .

             This is a small outlook on their history, step by step by step.

 

Click on this link for Clarence Burke Jr .'s official WEB page:

www.clarenceburkejr.com

2 Comments Atom Feed

Caption: PRX default User image

Finally....

...finally someone did a good "where are they now" piece on the Five Stairsteps. I first saw them on TV in DC on the Wook "Teenarama Dance Party Show". We were so excited because they were gonna feature "Cubie" who was closer to my age. I have downloaded some of their older music to my ipod. I did not realize that they were also the "Invisible Man Band" and that they performed/wrote"Pasado". I first heard this song performed by a band out of Baltimore named "Pockets". Me and some friends were friendly with them before they hit it big. I'm Happy to see that they parents are still living and that they may start touring again. When they come to/near DC, I'll be there. Thanks again.

Caption: PRX default User image

The Stairsteps

I love this group! In fact everyone I know loves them and are eager to hear them perform. Check out Clarence at The Sugar bar in NYC in April (I Think). Check out the Stairsteps featuring Clarence Burke Jr. at the 5th Annual Classic R&B weekend in The Poconos (Pa) Nov 11, 12, and 13th with The Dramatics, Slave, Atlantic Starr, Blue Magic, and D-Train. Clarence Burke equals OUTSTANDING!!!!

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
You Waited Too Long The Five Stairsteps First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 02:55
Come Back The Five Stairsteps First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 02:54
World of Fantasy The Five Stairsteps First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 03:04
Danger! She's a Stranger The Five Stairsteps First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 02:48
We Must Be In Love The Five Stairsteps & Cubie First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 03:10
(Baby) Make Me Feel So Good The Five Stairsteps & Cubie Love's Happening. Collector's Choice 2010 02:45
Ooh Child The Five Stairsteps First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 03:17
Didn't It Look So Easy The Stairsteps The Encore Collection: Their Greatest Hits. Bmg Special Product 1998 03:00
Dear Prudence The Five Stairsteps Greatest Hits:Step By Step By Stairstep. Action Music 1994 03:00
Vice The Lights The Five Stairsteps Stairsteps. Buddah 1970 03:00
My Sweet Lord The Stairsteps Stairsteps. Buddah 1971 03:00
Really Wanna See You The Invisible Man's Band Really Wanna See You. Funkytowngrooves UK 2009 05:00
Something's Missing The Five Stairsteps & Cubie First Family of Soul: The Best of Five Stairsteps. Sbme Special Mkts. 2008 02:49
Risin To The Top Keni Burke Changes. Bmg Japan 1995 05:16
Pasado Stairsteps 2nd Resurrection. Dark Horse 1976 03:09
All Night Thing The Invisible Man's Band All Night Thing . Mango 1979 06:10

Related Website

http://thefunkshow.com/joomla/