By Carter Collins
The Grammy-nominated R&B and soul group, The Main Ingredient, has just released evolutionary and avant-garde versions of their Gold Records Everybody Plays The Fool and Just Don’t Want to be Lonely. Distributed worldwide through Amplified Distribution, the new songs are available at popular digital music online stores/platforms and music streaming services, including Apple iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Spotify, YouTube, and others.
Following the April 20, 2017 passing of Cuba Gooding Sr., the group’s lead vocalist for 46 years, The Main Ingredient has been revamped. The latest recordings were conducted under the supervision of Darryl Tookes and features him on lead vocals on both songs.
Tookes is a noted vocalist, composer, arranger, producer, poet, educator, activist and Executive Producer of The Main Ingredient’s musical endeavors. He has recorded or performed with such artists as Cuba Gooding, The Main Ingredient, Sting, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Christina Aguilera, Natalie Cole, Carly Simon, Burt Bacharach, George Benson, Luther Vandross, James Ingram and many more. In 1989, the singer reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary charts with his love ballad, Lifeguard.
Shirley Gooding and Don W. Saint James produced the latest recordings featuring Tookes. Joining Tookes singing lead on Everybody Plays the Fool is actor/rapper Omar Gooding, son of Cuba Gooding Sr. and Shirley Gooding. The youngest brother of Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., Omar will star on the Disney Channel’s new television show Saturdays premiering on Friday, March 24, 2023.
Omar Gooding began his acting career in 1990 with the film Ghost Dad, directed by Sidney Poitier. Omar has since appeared or starred in many films, including the John Singleton-directed and produced Baby Boy, playing the role of Sweetpea. In January 2023, Omar released two rap singles Swim and Homage, from his upcoming album to be released this summer.
“It was an honor for me to rap on this version of Everybody Plays The Fool, first made famous by my father, Cuba Gooding Sr. and The Main Ingredient, in 1972,” said Omar Gooding. “His amazing four-plus legendary decades in R&B and soul music was – and still is – an inspiration for me to soar higher as a rapper.”
Singers Larry Moore and Don Black are also on the evolutionary recordings. Both vocalists were members of The Main Ingredient when the group featured Cuba Gooding. Moore remains with the group. The recordings’ music and background vocals are provided by current or past vocal and music majors from Florida A&M University (FAMU), the same HBCU where Tookes is an alum and the current Director of Music Industry Studies. Gerald Hinson, Ph.D., served as chief engineer for recording, mixing, and mastering the songs.
Over the years, FAMU, home of the World Famous Marching 100 Band, has produced such recording/performing artists as Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (alto saxophonist), Nat Adderley (trumpeter/cornetist), K. Michelle (R&B singer), Common (rapper), Darryl Tookes (pianist, singer, arranger), Kendra Foster (two-time Grammy-winning vocalist) Yaasiel “Success” Davis (VP, Atlantic Records), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), T’Keyah Crystal Keymah (actress/singer), Amir Windon (multiple Grammy-winning producer). Jackie Davis (organist), Lin Rountree (trumpeter), Cainon Lamb (hip hop producer and rapper), Rico Love (singer-songwriter), Kosine (Platinum-selling songwriter/producer), and more.
“I’m honored to bring this evolutionary and revolutionary project to life, an homage to The Main Ingredient, along with a host of legendary singers – many of whom were my friends as well as vocal inspirations,” Tookes said. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m humbled to pay tribute to the music and legacy of The Main Ingredient featuring Cuba Gooding, whose voice I first heard and loved when I was a teenager. The recordings are also a tribute to the many African American tenors and lead singers of the classic-soul era of the 1960s and 70s, many of whom didn’t always get their proper due. My hope is that they are listening or somehow know that the majestic legacy of their wonderful music lives on.”
The Main Ingredient will release an album this fall with eight songs comprised of new compositions, along with the group’s other classics, including Everybody Plays The Fool and Just Don’t Want to be Lonely. Tookes will executively produce the album and will be featured vocally on selected songs.
The Main Ingredient was originally formed in Harlem, New York in the 1960s. The R&B, soul, and pop group signed by RCA Records released 11 studio albums (3 Top 10). Overall, The Main Ingredient charted 5 Top 10 singles on Billboard, including Everybody Plays The Fool and Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely. The group also charted 10 Top 20 singles. The Main Ingredient’s music is still heard internationally in more than 30 countries.