The Undisputed Truth came into being after Bobby Taylor brought Billie Rae Calvin and Brenda Joyce to Motown as part of The Delicates.
When The Delicates broke up, the pair kept busy doing background vocals for The Four Tops, Diana Ross, and Edwin Starr until Motown producer Norman Whitfield teamed them up with Joe Harris of The Preps as a psychedelic soul trio put together to cash in on the success of Sly & The Family Stone.
Principally employed as a vehicle for Whitfield’s sonic experiments, the group scored its biggest hit in 1971 with the classic Smiling Faces Sometimes, a twisted paean to paranoia.
Whitfield wrote most of their material (sometimes in association with Barrett Strong) and used their sessions as a laboratory to devise funk rhythms and psychedelic guitar effects.
He was doing the same thing with The Temptations, and The Undisputed Truth’s records couldn’t help but suffer in comparison. As vocalists, they weren’t in the same league as The Temptations, and Whitfield was most likely reserving his real killer songs for the more famous group.
Nonetheless, other stand-out tracks by The Undisputed Truth included You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth, Poontang, their original rendition of Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone (which preceded The Temptations’ version by several months), and UFO‘s Higher Than High.
A later five-man version of The Undisputed Truth morphed into a cod Funkadelic, complete with zany costumes.
Billie Rae Calvin