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Highly Distinct

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Album Review

It opens with "Impressions," which is not a song, but two minutes of Harry Elston, Floyd Butler, Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Love — the Friends of Distinction, tripping. Highly Distinct is close to their debut album but lacked the obvious hit; it's more jazzy and less R&B. They're mesmerizing on "We Got a Good Thing Going," where their four-part harmonies riding the bubbling arrangement is simply delicious. I've yet to hear a bad rendition of Neil Sedaka's lilting "Working on a Groovy Thing," and the Friends version, with their impeccable harmonies, is one of the best; it should have made their Best Of CD. A harmony-filled "It's Wonderful" is merely a vehicle to display their amazing blending skills, melody and lyrics buried in a sea of harmony. The Doors' rocker "Light My Fire" works well all jazzed up; it seems like a live recording but could have been manufactured in the studio. Nothing is blatantly commercial, and the uplifting "Let Yourself Go" stirred some chart action but strayed too far from mainstream to seriously compete.

Biography

Formed: 1968 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Known best for their pop smash "Grazing in the Grass," the Friends of Distinction were founded by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, also including Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love (plus Charlene Gibson, who replaced Love during her pregnancy). Elston and Butler's involvement in music entailed several groups, including the Hi-Fi's, Ray Charles' backing band. When the group disbanded in 1966, Elston and Butler recruited Cleaves and Love...
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Highly Distinct, The Friends of Distinction
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