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Alvin Stone / Night People

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Album Review

This two-fer consists of the Fantastic Four's best album and its spirited but flawed follow-up, Night People. Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster) is the Fantastic Four's What's Going On, their Songs in the Key of Life, their Abbey Road; its six songs include the bombastic title track and the melodramatic love songs "My Love Won't Stop at Nothing" and "Let This Moment Last," which are reasons enough to buy this CD. Night People tries to replicate Alvin Stone's artistry with melodies from "Night People" and "Lies Divided By Jive." The other tunes are OK but nothing special, with the most memorable being "If I Lost My Job" and "(Meet Me at The) Hideaway," a plodding disco tune highlighted by a throaty vocal from Sweet James Epps. Albert Hamilton either wrote or co-wrote every song on the CD, with some exceptions (i.e., "By the River Under the Tree," written by Epps and Ted White).

Biography

Formed: 1965 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Detroit R&B and soul group the Fantastic Four formed in 1965. "Sweet" James Epps, Ralph and Joseph Pruitt, and Wallace Childs were the original members. Childs and Ralph Pruitt later departed, and were replaced by Cleveland Horne and Ernest Newsome. Their first single on Ric-Tic, "The Whole World Is a Stage," was their lone huge hit, peaking at number 6 on the R&B charts in 1967. The next release, "You Gave Me Something (And Everything's Alright)," reached number 12 that same year. Motown eventually...
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