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Dynamite!

Honey & The Bees

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Album Review

This disc has 14 of their Arctic sides (four previously unreleased), nine of which are from 1966-1969 singles. Lamentably, the liner notes do not include any dates or original release information. Although Honey & the Bees were more competent than distinctive as vocalists, the material and arrangements amount to some pretty decent Philadelphia soul from a time when the genre was starting to coalesce around the Gamble-Huff-Bell sound. What's here is not as slick or commercially successful as the Gamble-Huff-Bell blockbusters of the early and mid-’70s, which is fine, as it has an airiness that often escaped such blockbusters. The Gamble-Huff-Bell comparisons, however, are not gratuitous: Huff himself plays piano on some of the cuts, and the rhythm section includes Ron Baker, Earl Young, Bobby Eli, and Norman Harris, all of whom were present on many Philly soul smashes in later years. Honey & the Bees were versatile performers who could handle styles and songs ranging from emotional, melodic ballads ("Make You Mine") and midtempo dance tunes ("Why Do You Hurt the One Who Loves You") to harder, funkier outings betraying the influence of more progressive soul trends ("Love Addict," "Music (Makes You Want to Dance," "Baby, Do That Thing"). Fred Wesley of the JBs, who married group member Gwen Oliver, wrote the liner notes.

Biography

Formed: 1965 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s

A minor but talented Philadelphia female soul quartet, Honey & the Bees made some relatively little-known records for the Arctic and Josie labels in the late '60s and early '70s with the aid of musicians that played on classic 1970s Gamble-Huff productions. These included Leon Huff himself on piano, and Ron Baker, Earl Young, Bobby Eli, and Norman Harris in the rhythm section; Harris and Thom Bell were among those who contributed to the songwriting. Honey & the Bees spent years on the club...
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Dynamite!, Honey & The Bees
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