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Album Review

bThe Persuaders' sexy and smooth R&B vocals often have the quartet linked to the prolific Philly soul movement of the 1970s. However, the combo's lineage is actually rooted in New York City where siblings Richard Poindexter and Robert Poindexter scored sides for the likes of Linda Jones ("Hypnotized") and — making that all-important connection to the City of Brotherly Love — the O'Jays ("I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow"). Rounding out the inaugural lineup were Doug "Smokey" Scott and James "B.J." Barnes, who hailed from the Poindexters' hometown of Newport News, VA. As fate would have it, they initially had a hard time selling "Thin Line Between Love & Hate" — which would go on to become their biggest hit and the title track of this, their 1972 debut LP. Ultimately, not only did the Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco issue the side, they were offered their own Win Or Lose Records vanity imprint. Instrumentally augmenting the Persuaders' unified voices are the tight and compact combo of Angel Luis Panaiagua, Jr. (guitar), Paul Young (vibraphone), Harry "Al" Giscombe (bass), and Leroy Quick (drums). The powerful "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" commences the album blending Scott's empathetic falsetto with an O. Henry-esque twist behind the otherwise dark tale of domestic abuse. The lax and conversational "Let's Get Down Together" bears a sonic similarity to Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' classic "If You Don't Know Me by Now." Beneath an easy and expressive waltz, the tune is filled with lyrical asides such as "Ooh Girl, I like what I see..." and "I'd like to paint your wagon, baby...." The underlying message of "Blood Brothers" certainly takes root in the "street cred" unity that had been an influential factor in the Poindexters' formative years. To modern ears the overt sense of Black Pride may seem alternately passé, or to some, perhaps unsettling. Yet within the context of the late '60s and early '70s, the tune's positive message and unifying reinforcement is perfectly in sync with the times. The slippery backbeat of "You Musta Put Something in Your Love" is driven by a spellbinding Stax feel. The lead vocal trade-offs recall the inspired interplay of Sam & Dave's double dynamite routine. The Persuaders' spacious harmonies are again front and center, ably supporting Scott's heartfelt pleas on the rhythmically syncopated "Thanks for Loving Me." Sly and surreptitious — not to mention downright funky — "Love Gonna Pack Up (And Walk Out)" was the second side from the LP to make it into the Top Ten R&B Singles chart. It was followed by the poignant ballad "If This Is What You Call Love (I Don't Want No Part of It)" — which landed at a respectable number 27 — although neither made an impact on the pop survey. Equally worthy of spins are deeper cuts "Mr. Sunshine" and the rousing upbeat "Thigh Spy," which pulls a page out of Sly Stone's coalescing of rock & roll with funk. In 2007, Collectors' Choice Music combined Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1971) with the Persuaders' eponymous platter — making the latter available on CD for the first time.


Formed: 1969 in New York, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

This group made a pair of marvelous heartache ballads in 1971, but have the unfortunate legacy of having their finest cuts turned into pop hits via covers. Lead singer Douglas Scott, whose nickname appropriately was "Smokey," Willie Holland, James Barnes, and Charles Stodghill formed in New York in 1969. They signed with Atlantic in the early '70s and had their lone R&B chart-topper in 1971, the shattering classic "Thin Line Between Love & Hate." It was also their only gold single. The follow-up...
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Thin Line Between Love & Hate: Golden Classics, The Persuaders
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