Picks and Pans Review: Identify Yourself
Since they came out of Canton, Ohio to record Lonely Drifter in 1963, the O'Jays have turned out consistent quality. The original quintet is now a trio—Eddie Levert and Walter Williams plus newcomer Sammy Strain—but the voices are still strong, the harmonies tight and the exuberance unmatched. This LP is devoted half to up-tempo tunes like the infectious Sing a Happy Song, and with the exception of the title track (another dull, enigmatic message song by record moguls Ken Gamble and Leon Huff), all of them are good. The other half is romantically geared, as in Forever Mine, which evokes memories of basement parties and red-shaded lights. The O'Jays occasionally embarrass themselves with lyrics like "Ben Franklin made his kite fly/Marconi was real cool /But no one has come close to/My discovery of you." But they more often live up to their popular identity as one of the classiest soul groups around.
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