The Natural Four, were formed formed by Christopher James in 1967.
The original 1967 - 1972 members were:
Christopher James (worked at General Motors)
Allen Richardson (a shipyard employee)
John January (a Berkeley School District employee)
Alfred Milton Bowden (worked at General Motors)
This group first recorded in 1967 on a small Oakland based label called Boola-Boola.
you did this for me - 1969 / hanging on to a lie - 1971
boola boola compilations - 2006
Their first record 'I Thought You Were Mine' was the result of a chance meeting between their manager Fred Ivey and, the artist, Lonnie Cook.
'I Thought You Were Mine' was a song written and arranged in the space of one day by Mr. Cook.
Boola Boola was a label owned by Willie Hoskins and was located at 4721 Telegraph Avenue Oakland, California.
They released four singles for the imprint, which were 'I Thought You Were Mine' b/w 'You Did This For Me', 'You Did This For Me' b/w 'Why Should We Stop Now' (a re-release), 'Why Should We Stop Now' b/w 'You Did This For Me' and 'Twelve Months Of The Year' b/w 'Hanging Onto A Lie' (in 1971).
When 'I Thought You Were Mine' peaked regionally at number 7, ABC Records commenced negotiations regarding signing the group.
i thought you were mine - 1967 / the same thing in mind - 1969
At ABC Records, they were on 4 singles releases, including a re-release of 'I Thought You Were Mine'.
Their highest rating on the national charts, at ABC, was in 1969 with 'Why Should We Stop Now' (number 31 R & B)'.
Only one album was recorded at ABC, which was entitled 'Good Vibes'. (pictured below)
The Natural Four failed to achieve significant success at that time and were released from their contract at ABC.
Before breaking up in 1971, they recorded one more single, entitled 'Give A Little Love' b/w 'The Devil Made Me Do It' for Bay Area producer Ron Carson which saw a release on Chess Records.
the devil made me do it - 1971
Chris James organized a new group (1972 - 1976):
Steve 'Strip' Striplin
Ollan Christopher James
The group then signed with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label in 1972, and the following year had a sizable hit with 'Can This Be Real' b/w 'Try Love Again' (number 10 R & B, number 31 pop), written by Leroy Hutson.
1974 saw the release of 'Natural Four', for the label, which included 'You Bring Out The Best In Me'.
Their last chart record was entitled 'Free' b/w 'Nothing Beats A Failure But A Try', in 1976.
Good Vibes (ABC Records 1970)
Natural Four (Curtom Records 1974)
Heaven Right Here On Earth (Curtom Records 1975)
Nightchaser (Curtom Records 1976)