Category Archives: male groups

The Manhattans — Baby I’m Sorry

“Baby, I’m Sorry” is one of the Manhattans’ hopelessly under-appreciated early recordings. To me, it sounds as though their signature 70’s sound is just around the corner somewhere. The trademark background harmonizing and the understated pleading lead vocals are already there …

George Smith is singing lead, and he does a wonderful job. For a detailed bio of the artist, please go here.


Anacostia — I Can’t Stop Loving Her

Does this song sound a bit like a Chi Lites title? Nevertheless, it is a gem of a composition. Written by Ronald Sinclair, Thomas Williams, and Tony Boyd —  no Eugene Record involved.

Get their music here.

Anacostia started out as The Presidents, best known for their “5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years of Love).”  Produced by Van McCoy, the song reached #11 on the Pop charts. After a handful other releases that were not as successful, they changed their name to Anacostia after a housing development in D.C.

Anacostia released two self- titled albums. The first one in 1977 for MCA and the second one for Tabu Canada and USA. “I Can’t Stop Loving Her” is from their debut album.


Calvin Leavy — Is It Worth All That I’m Going Through?

Most of us probably have asked themselves this question at one point in their lives. And it is exactly this type of question that makes us aware of the significance of two very short, very simple words: yes and no. I couldn’t agree more with the 17th century Spanish Jesuit Balthasar Gracian who said that “No and Yes are words quickly said,” and that “they need a great amount of thought before you utter them.”

Back to the music, though. Calvin Leavy’s is a sad story. He was born in 1940 in Arkansas as the youngest of 15 children. He was off to a good start, first locally with his band The Leavy Brothers and later even nationally. His most famous song is “Cummins Prison Farm” whose lyrics draw from one of the Leavy Brother’s prison experience. The song, clearly a Blues tune, reached the R&B charts in 1970.

“Is It Worth All That I’m Going Through” was recorded in the late 70’s with his new group The Professionals. It is more of a Deep Soul than a Blues tune. You find his riveting electric Blues titles on two compilations. “The Best of Calvin Leavy ,”(TAM, 2000) and “Cummins Prison Farm,” (P-Vine 2003).

Unfortunately, Calvin Leavy was arrested in a drug related offence and sentenced to a life behind bars. He died in 2010 only 18 months before being eligible for parole. May his soul rest in peace. He truly left a legacy of wonderful Blues and Soul music behind.

The big question

The Temprees — Something So Right

“Something So Right” is on The Temprees’ Album Love Maze. The album was released in 1973 by We Produce Records, a subsidiary of Stax Records. The song was written by Paul Simon (yes the Paul Simon). The Temprees added the soulful touch and — what we hear is a beautiful tune with perfect background harmonies accompanied by an unobtrusive, minimal instrumentation: something that sounds so right.

Get the album here.


The Bar-Kays — Mean Mistreater

After a stressful, crazy week yours ol’ Rag is back. Of course, I’ve brought a song along …

From The Bar Kays’ album Money Talks (Stax, 1978) is today’s track.



Don Covay and The Goodtimers — Now, That I Need You

Today’s pick is not quite as uplifting as yesterday’s session. It is, however, a very fine tune by one of my favorite singers, Don Covay. For the longest time , the only song by him I knew was I Was checking Out … Admittedly, that song deserved its fame; but after I got acquainted with more of his material, I realized how versatile this artist actually was.

Here’s a nice Doo-Wop  title by Don and The Goodtimers. This will be a joy for everyone who appreciates some fine harmonizing.



Audioblog Special — Covered By The Tops …

This post was inspired — once again — by my good friend DC. Many thanks go out to him for his support. He suggested that I do a special on songs The Four Tops have covered. Of course, there are way too many such recordings — and all of them are great. It was quite difficult to chose only a handful of covers I thought were not only done well but also in the best of Tops quality.

The Tops truly belong up there with the best male groups of all time; they never settled for second best performances, and that clearly shows in their material.

Below is a clip of an early Four Tops performance that, in my opinion, encapsulates the phenomenon Four Tops: charisma, talent, and enthusiasm .

And here’s my choice of cover versions the Four Tops left their mark upon:

Honey (I Miss You)

Little Green Apples

Echoes Of My Mind / Everybody’s Talking

If I Had A Hammer

Eleanor Rigby

Elusive Butterfly





Bobby Goldsboro, Honey

Roger Miller, Little Green Apples

Harry Nilsson, Echoes of My Mind/Ever’ybody’s Talking (from Midnight Cowboy)


The Weavers, If I Had A Hammer

The Beatles, Eleanor Rigby

Bob Lind, Elusive Butterfly

Whew! Now, I hope you all are thoroughly educated.

G. C. Cameron — It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

G. C. Cameron is a widely known and highly regarded artist with a career that spans almost 40 years. He’s also known for having “six different voices.”

He started out at Motown with the Spinners and it was he who sang the original lead on “It’s A Shame.” (Phillipe Wynne joined the group once they had left Motown for Atlantic Records.)

Today’s title is from his self titled album, released in 1976 on the Motown label. The song was written by Freddie Perren and Christine Yarian for Cooley High, the 1975 movie. Boyz II Men covered it in 1991;  their cover version made it to # 1 on the Hip Hop charts.

While I definitely like the Boyz II Men rendition, I do love G.C’s original. He’s simply at his best when he’s able to emote without pushing it.



Gaturs feat. Willie Tee — Sweet Thing

Alright, enough tears shed … I finally entered into peace negotiations with my i-tunes library, and it looks as if we’re reaching an agreement — kind of what-the-heck,-it-is-as-it-is deal. Problem solved.

And because life is good again, I’ll post some great New Orleans Funk by the Gaturs feat. Willie Tee from their 1970’s album Wasted (Funky Delicacies, 1994). This is a fantastic album — so get it. I would describe the Gatur’s music as gourmet funk; the kind of funk that stays close to soul, adds a generous portion of jazz and never loses the touch of the blues.

Willie Tee was born Wilson Turbinton on February 6, 1944 in New Orleans.  Despite a long career in the music business, he never experienced the success he without a doubt deserves. For a detailed bio, please go here. He died September 11, 2007, only one month after his brother Earl, whose music had influenced Willie from early childhood on.





The Mad Lads — Patch My Heart

This one goes out to all the folks who need a little mending of the heart …




The Chi-Lites — To Change My Love

When I first heard The Chi-Lites in the mid seventies, the group had been around with different lineups and under different names for over 10 years. What made them the Chi-Lites most of us think of when the name comes up, is without any doubt the voice of Eugene Record. I remember when I first heard him sing on Oh Girl, I couldn’t believe that there actually was a human voice like his possible …

Those were the times when romance and sweetness and tender feelings were still associated with being in love. Things have changed tremendously since then.

Here are two YouTube clips of the Chi-Lites with Eugene Record on lead. One glance into the audience suffices to prove that neither the group nor the songs have lost their power over the years.

My pick for today is from their Give It Away album (Brunswick, 1969).



A Bag Of O’Jays

I am a bit behind with my posts — I guess I’m in a bit of a slump. Blame the heat! With the help of some good music, I might survive this hellish summer. The O’Jays seem to be a good choice: relaxed, smooth, and melodic …


Don’t Let The Dream Get Away,  (Let Me Touch You, Capitol 1990)

Your True Heart (And Shining Star),  (My Favorite Person, PIR, 1982)

Survival  (Survival, PIR 1975)

I Wanna Be With You Tonight (Love Fever, PIR 1985)

It’s Too Strong (The O’Jays in Philadelphia, PIR 1973)

To Prove I Love You (The Year 2000, PIR 1980) 


The Van Dykes — Doin’ The Best I Can

And we’re going slow today too .. It’s going to be 103 F today — so any action has to be kept at lowest speed.

Thr song can be found on Tellin’ It Like It Is: Mala Sessions 




The Magics — Let’s Do The Boogaloo

I have heard tons of songs mentioning the boogaloo. To be honest, however, I have no clue about how that dance might look like. The YouTube clips I found seem to be about some other, newer dance with the same name.

Well, until I find someone who can teach me how to boogaloo I’ll do some freestyle dancing (as usual.) One thing I know for sure, though. The boogaloo is good for the mood.

” … Hey you! Are you ready?”



The Originals — Lie No. 2

There are  many fantastic Motown groups who never got their fair share of fame, but The Originals definitely stand out even among them. While I never get enough of  Red Sails In The Sunset from their Baby I’m For Real album, today’s track is growing on me more each time I listen to it. The song is on the 1972 album Def-I-Ni-Tions.



The Continental Four — How Can I Pretend

The Continental Four was a quartet that put out some excellent early 70’s music for Jay Walking Records, a subsidiary of the Soulville label. Their trademark was the mellifluous falsetto lead — so characteristic of the era — of Freddy Kelly. Their material represents the Sound of Philadelphia at it’s finest with fine background harmonies and elaborate musical arrangements.



The Whispers — A Singer of Songs

Today’s song is from The Whispers first LP The Whispers (Soul Clock, 1971). The album was re-issued by Janus in 1973 as The Planets of Life.

The Whispers have started out in the early 60’s in Los Angeles where they did what every aspiring vocal groups did back in those days: they sang do-wop on a street corner. And as many other groups of that era, they changed their initial name, The Eden Trio, to The Whispers when they joined Dore Records. At Dore, they recorded 9 singles from 1964 to 1967. Switching labels from time to time also was what groups did (and still do). They signed on to the small Soul Clock Records in 1969, a move which resulted in their first Top 10 hit: “Seems Like I Got To Do Wrong.” Among the labels they later joined was Don Gornelius’ Soul Train label (co-owned by Dick Griffey.)

Yet, unlike most other groups that emerged during the 60’s to become famous and celebrated during the 70’s and and even 80’s’ as some of them managed to do, The Whispers star never disappeared. They kept recording and touring until today with great success — and with the original members except for Marcus Hutson who passed away in 2000. His group mates did never “replace” him.

So, let’s hear my pick of the day.

Now, let’s hear The Whispers with A Singer of Songs.



The Whispers today.

The Originals — Give Yourself The Right (To Be Wrong)

For some reason, the Originals’ One Life We Live came to my mind today when I drove up I-10W. It must have been the magnificent Texan spring evening that had me think of the song. Of course, I declared the rest of the afternoon an Originals only  event. Up came one wonderful track from their 1970’s Naturally Together album, and I knew I had to post it. Give Yourself The Right (To Be Wrong) showcases everything that makes the Originals so special: unique lead voice and perfect background harmonizing … Simply Originals.



>The Fiestas — Thanks For The Sweet Memories


The Fiestas, originally from Newark, NJ., had their first and biggest hit in 1959 with So Fine reaching number 3 on the R and B charts. They kept recording for the Old Town label until the 60’s and scored another success with the title Broken Heart in 1962.  Broken Heart reached number 18 on the R and B charts. During the 60’s they switched labels and signed first to Strand, NY and later to Vigor where they kept recording into the seventies without being successful again.
The Fiestas — Broken Heart:  Jackie Wilson’s influence cannot be denied …

>The Ovations — Pure Natural Love

>When I first heard this song, I was thinking that that’s what we all should have in our lives. Pure and natural love. No artificial anything, so to speak.  Honest emotions. No schemes. No romanticized expectations. Many a relationship might have profited from such an attitude.

The Ovations were one of the very few groups that managed to deliver quite a few great 45’s for Goldwax. They propbably owed much of that success to their lead singer, Louis Williams jr., whose voice could be mistaken for Sam Cooke’s. 

>Soul Generation — In Your Way / Citations — Hey Mr. Love

>Sawyer and I just were talking about the Soul Generation, and I thought I should eventually post the track I have saved on my desktop for quite some time now. I also found Hey, Mr. Love in my library from a group named The Citations. I think it might be a song by The Soul Generation from their early days when the called themselves The Citations. So, I will post that one too.

In Your Way / Hey Mr. Love
LimeLinx: In Your Way / Hey Mr. Love
Get their Collectables album here.

>Skip Mahoaney — Your Funny Moods



And the pick of the day is a slow jam with lots of feeling and of long duration. Funny Moods was the A-side of Skip Mahoaney and The Casuals’ first 45 recording, and it became the title song of the group’s firs LP  (D.C. International Records, 1974).  Their second album was, Land of Love, followed in 1976. (AVI released both their LP’s on a single CD in 1995) More info about the group. 

>Electrified Action — Love Foundation


I couldn’t find any info on this group, but I do think that the song title suits the season’s spirit: Love.


Post script

I said it before, and I will say it again: What would I do without my friends and fellow music lovers?

Marc a.k.a. Blue Escorpio had this to say about Electrified Action:

More info on ‘Electrified Action’ can be found in ‘Swete Harold’ ‘s bio here:
However I couldn’t track down any trace of the ‘Super Soul Music’ hit on the ‘Delightful Music’ (De-Lite Records???) he’s talking about.
The producer of ‘Love Foundation’ is keyboardist/singer ‘Sweet Richard Shade’.
More on him is here:

>Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes — He Loves You And I Do Too


Obviously, I have had a problem with my automatic posting schedule. I kept posting the posts a day early. So, I’ll post an extra track today — and will be back on track come tomorrow. Yay — a blogger’s life is never easy.

Haze — I Do Love My Lady

This title is from a 1974 album by a group that had been forgotten for decades. One day, a lucky vinyl collector DJ got her hands on it — and voila! Here is a beautiful track from a resurrected album.

If you’d like to read the whole story, please go here.




Little Anthony and The Imperials — La La La At The End


From their 1973 album “On A New Street” on the Avco lable. Composer: James Grant. Produced by Thom Bell. Group Members: “Little Anthony” Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Bobby Wade, and Harold Jenkins:
La La La At The End


>Tavares: "Don’t Take Away The Music", "Let Me Heal The Bruises", "I Wanna See You Soon"

>Tavares does not sound like a group from New Bedford, Mass. Do they? They’ve got the golden sound of California or maybe Florida (or sunny Texas?) all over them. The 5 Brothers are best known for their heavily Disco flavored hits of the late 70’s, especially the 76 smash hits Don’t Take Away The Music and Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel. What made the group great was their flawless singing, though. Anyone else could have sung these tunes, hitting the charts. But what makes these hits so special are these unforgettable voices that blend to the exciting sound so typical for Tavares.

Anyone who can manage to listen to a Tavares song with a focus on the vocal arrangements instead of the music will agree with me. That’s perfect singing. No less!
Let Me Heal The Bruises is a slow song with top notch background harmonizing whose melody is somewhat reminiscent of Feelings in my opinion. Another less often heard song by Tavares is My Love Calls from their Madam Butterfly album. Just listen to the background vocals … I love them. Finally, Got To Find My Way Back To You is a prime example of a cheapy turned into something good by the singing alone. I mean that song is basically a boring clap-clap, stomp-stomp tune. If it weren’t for the Tavares Bros. high carat singing, it wouldn’t stay on my hard-drive longer than 45 seconds … Wonderful, on the other hand, resides there — backed up twice! On I Wanna See You Soon, they team up with another exceptional vocalist: Freda Payne.
Okay now, see for yourselves what these guys have to offer!

>Moments Special!


Hier nun die versprochenen Titel fuer Sawyer. Und Sawyer, Du hast mich auf eine wunderschoene Erinnerungsreise geschickt. Die Moments haben mich wieder mal voellig in ihren Bann gezogen mit ihren einfachen Arrangements, schlichten Melodien und dem intesiven Gesang. Einfach schoen! 

I’m So Lost 
With You

Eigentlich wollte ich ja nur zwei Moments-Titel posten, doch dann fiel mir dieser Song ein! Also gibt’s den noch als Zugabe.

Somebody Loves You, Baby

Und hier noch schnell ein link zu einem frueheren Moments post.

(Uebrigens war die Eddie Kendricks Version von Not On The Outside auch grossartig).

>The Moments: "Not On The Outside", "Special Lady", "Love On A Two Way STreet"

>Not On The Outside 

The Moments Not On The Outside (mp3)

Die Moments hatten 1968 mit diesem Song ihren ersten Hit. Ihre bekannteste Aufnahme duerfte aber wohl Love on a TwoWay Street sein. 1970 nannten sie sich um in Ray, Goodman, and Brown. 

Obwohl ihre Platten sich nicht uebermaessig gut verkauften, gelten ihre Liveauftritte als aussergewoehnlich gut.

Ray, Goodman and Brown: Special Lady

Love On A Two Way Street