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Society Don't Let Us Down

The Barons

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Album Review

New Orleans' the Barons are certainly one of the most overlooked groups of all time, as this excellent compilation of their late-1960s and early-1970s singles makes clear. Grafting Louisiana funk to Motown soul — a bit like the Temptations meeting the Meters — and tossing in a bit of doo wop, as well, the Barons turned out high quality soul that featured solid songwriting and deadly production. That they're not a household name seems criminal. Everything here is top-notch, but the tracks produced by the "Creole Beethoven," Wardell Quezergue, are worth pointing out, particularly the set opener, "Making It Better," and "Gypsy Read Your Cards for Me," which sounds a bit like the Impressions gone bayou. Other highlights include "I'm So Lonely," the title track, "Society Don't Let Me Down" (which wouldn't have embarrassed Norman Whitfield as a production) and the jangly "No More Tears," but truthfully, every track here is a gem, and if the world were fair, the Barons would be every bit as familiar to listeners as the Four Tops or Stevie Wonder.

Biography

Formed: Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

The Barons were an early-'60s Detroit group more famous for its members — Roger Craton aka Lee Rogers, Tyrone Douglas, and Jesse Greer — than any accomplishment on their own whose records, due to limited pressings, are rare. As the Peppermints, they cut three for Carla Murphy's H.O.B. Records (House of Beauty Records). The House of Beauty, a hair boutique/candy shop, was a female hangout frequented by Raynoma Liles-Gordy (Berry Gordy's second wife). Motown's Rayber Singers first label...
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Society Don't Let Us Down, The Barons
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