Connie McGill & Visions

Connie McGill and his great friends Raymond Hayes and Henry Hill who cut down to a trio pretty soon after they came together around 1961 in Harlem, NY made their own music for more than a decade. They wrote their own material, arranged and produced the music and issued it mainly on labels they owned or had a stake in. This control over their product was highly unusual in the 60s and it is to their great credit they did it for so long – and of course produced so many excellent tracks in the process.

For sure I shall concentrate on the several songs they made in a deep or deepish vein but we must start by mentioning the other more sweet ballads they recorded since there are a good few gems that more adventurous deep fans might like to savour.

The first of these appeared on their very first 45. “My Love Will Never Change” is a tuneful doo wop edged tune complete with a soulful lead from Connie himself and some very fine harmony vocals from the then other three guys. The bouncy “I’m So Happy “I Found You” is a charming toe tapper and the excellent ballad flip “Week End’s” with its rather Impressions like feel, make the Camille disc one of their best efforts. “A million years” is another superb sweet ballad with a lovely set of chord changes and a most subtle McGill vocal.

But their deeper soul songs need to be much better appreciated. The first of these was the gospel influenced ListenFor That Great Day on their second release which I really love to bits, not just for its righteous vocal arrangement but also the melody and very tasteful guitar licks. Their next excursion to the deeper end was the superb ListenI Want Be Free from later in the 60s. This powerful and hard hitting ballad also references Curtis Mayfield’s work – but has a much tougher edge to it. Another one I return to time and again. I’d very much recommend ListenPeace Of Mind from the middle of the decade as well. This dead slow song with its “climbing” arrangement features all three singers in turn on lead and some delicious harmonies. Love the saxes as well!

The track that dance fans will know from this group is the Motown flavoured ListenI Can’t Stop My Love which is pretty run of the mill sadly. But a very slow alternative arrangement of the song appeared on their rare LP “Relax with Connie McGill & the Visions” which is much more to my taste – and appears to have been completely overlooked unfortunately. But you can listen to it Listenhere – and it may just be the best thing they ever put on wax. A true gem! But you have to find the actual vinyl album to get it as that is the only place it appears.

As musical tastes changed in the 70s the Visions made less and less music together, with the guys earning livings in other fields. They remained great friends through the decades though until McGill passed away in 1999. But his – and their – music lives on. And will do so as long as I can help it.



Take it like a man / My love will never change ~ EDGE 502 (1962)
I could never love another / ListenFor that great day ~ SUPER 102 (1963)
Peace of mind / I can’t live without you ~ SUPER 103 (1963)
He created you for me / No! I won’t believe it ~ UNITED INTERNATIONAL 1009 (1964) / WATCH 1786 (1965)
I can’t stop my love / To make me feel alright ~ DYNAMIC 208 (1965)
I wanna be yours / ListenPeace of mind ~ TRIODE 115 (1968)
I can’t stop my love / For that great day ~ SUGAR 501 (1969)
ListenI want to be free / A million years ~ SUGAR 502 (1969)
I can’t live without you / For that great day ~ SUGAR 503 (1969)
I’m so happy I found you / Week end’s ~ CAMILLE 130 (1973)
A million years / For that great day ~ TOY 107 (mid 60s)


Relax with Connie McGill & the Visions ~ WATCH 100 (very late 60s)



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