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The Manhattans

The Manhattans

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Album Review

The six-man R&B vocal combo the Manhattans deliver one of their finest efforts on this eponymously titled release from 1976. The platter is highlighted by the chart-topping crossover pop hit "Kiss and Say Goodbye," which helped push the album into the Top 20. Under the direction of Philly groove master Bobby Martin, the group utilizes its streetwise doo wop delivery on a mixed bag of sounds. These include uptempo numbers — such as the opener "Searching for Love" and "How Can Anything So Good Be So Bad for You?" — as well as orchestrated sides "We'll Have Forever to Love"and the poignant remake of "Hurt," which was issued as the follow-up to the infidelity anthem "Kiss and Say Goodbye." Although the disco-era rhythms certainly add a bit of nostalgia, at the center of The Manhattans is the sextet's deceptively complex — and at times understated — vocal blend. Examples abound, and include the bluesy and soulful "Take It or Leave It" and "La-La-La Wish Upon a Star," which is reminiscent of the Delphonics or any number of other Philadelphia International Records or Gamble & Huff productions. One of the more distinguishing features of the band is Winfred "Blue" Lovett, whose husky Barry White-esque pipes provide a sensual tether to the lighter vocal harmonies, most notably on "Wonderful World of Love" and the definitive narrative of "Kiss and Say Goodbye." [In 2003, Sony/Legacy reissued The Manhattans with a trio of bonus tracks that included an instrumental version of "Take It or Leave It," a promo-only "Excerpt from 'An Interview Special with the Manhattans'," and an alternate mix and edit of "Something for Love."]

Biography

Formed: 1962 in Jersey City, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Manhattans were one of those classic R&B vocal groups who manage to achieve incredible career longevity by adapting their style to fit changing times. Formed in the '60s as a doo wop-influenced R&B quintet, the Manhattans reinvented themselves as sweet smooth soul balladeers during the '70s. In doing so, they somehow overcame the death of lead singer George Smith, and with new frontman Gerald Alston became more popular than they'd ever been, landing an across-the-board number one hit...
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The Manhattans, The Manhattans
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