Saturday, April 08, 2006

Special Moments

I’m continuing down the All Platinum road today. My previous post featured The Rimshots, house band in the 70s with Joe & Sylvia Robinson’s All Platinum studios, and it’s likely they played on the tracks posted here. The All Platinum group included all of the following imprints: All Platinum, Astroscope, Stang, Turbo, Vibration, A-1, Alithia and Chanson, and possibly others as well.

The Moments were formed in 1968, their core members being Harry Ray, Al Goodman, and Billy Brown, although I believe Brown replaced Mark Greene so wasn’t an original member. Ray & Brown were both from New Jersey, Goodman hailed from Jackson, Mississippi (and incidently celebrated his 59th birthday last week). They were masterful purveyors of the sweet soul sound and enjoyed a number of hits throughout the first half of the seventies. Their first R&B #1 came with “Love On A Two Way Street” in 1970 which stayed at the top spot for 5 weeks (Billboard), and another #1 was “Look At Me (I’m In Love)” in 1975. Between 1970 and 1977, when the Moments name was dropped and they became simply (or not!) Ray, Goodman & Brown, they released 17 singles on the Stang label, and several albums too. They were obviously a hit with the ladies (or at least thought they were) as evidenced by two live album releases – “Live At The New York State Women’s Prison” and “Live At The Miss Black America Pagaent”. As the seventies wore on they did tend to veer towards the poppy end of things (e.g. “Dolly My Love”), but no matter.

The single that holds both the tracks here was released in 1974 not long before “Girls” which was a massive crossover, and UK, hit for them with the Whatnauts. That probably places it in time pretty well. I can’t find any chart details but I am guessing it was no more than a modest R&B hit. A Greatest Hits album released in 1977 featured neither of the tracks. “The Next Time I See You” (a different version?) also featured as a B side (to “With You”) in 1976, which was the single that immediately followed “Nine Times” - another big hit on both sides of the pond, and has recently been popular again on the Northern scene I believe.

I’ve seen All Platinum/Stang output referred to as low-fi. A lot of the output certainly had a distinctive sound and I can sort of get what people mean, guitars seem to be featured more than horns for example. However you want to describe the sound I think the two tracks here demonstrate really high quality production and quite complex arrangements, and to me sound ahead of their time. A reason for it not being a big hit would be that it definitely wasn’t one of their poppier outings. I love the guitar motif on “Sweet Sweet Lady”. Overall the vocals are superb. “The Next Time I See You” is my favourite of the two I think. Sweet yes, but not sickly -to me it’s sumptuous, sensuous and sophisticated. Go ahead and see if you agree.

You can pick up this single for next to nothing, or for more special Moments you could try this (UK USA)which is a comprehensive CD collection of their output.

The Moments - Sweet Sweet Lady 1974 (gone)
The Moments - The Next Time I See You 1974 (gone)

6 comments:

mOz said...

thanx for sharing them germs!!...i gotta pick up their material for the collection forreal!!..
Nice One!

Miss F said...

thanks for shaRing these singles. your very nice write-up has convinced Me that i would like to discover if they are really "masterful purveyors of the sweet soul s0und". that s0unds irresistiBLe~

*^__^*

Darcy said...

Thanks for the comments and welcome aboard miss f. Looks like I need to make some time to check out your blog.

Anonymous said...

I THINK RAY GOODMAN AND BROWN ARE A WONDERFUL GROUP.I GREW UP LISTENING TO THEIR MUSIC.MY PARENT'S DIDN'T GIVE ME MUCH OF A CHOICE! NOW THAT I AM 36 YEARS OLD I AM A FAN FOR LIFE. I HAVE ALL THEIR CD'S. I THINK BILLY BROWN IS ONE OF THE FINEST OLD MAN,I EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING.. HIS LIPS ARE LIKE COTTON CANDY!!!

E. Streb said...

The Moments are the most underrated band of all-time. I've been searching eBay and gobbling up every Moments record I can get my hands on ("Nine Times" is incredible!), but this is the first I've heard of those two live albums. Where can I find more information about this band?

Darcy said...

E.Streb: a quick look today on ebay.com gets one hit on each of these two live albums (in stores), although one is possibly at a prohibitively high price.

As for a comprehensive write up on the band I can't find one at the moment.

Thanks for dropping by - you have reminded me I must play this single again.