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Give the People What They Want

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Album Review

In addition to liner notes, a major problem with the first CD configurations of the classic O'Jays albums like Ship Ahoy and Family Reunion was their brevity. By LP standards, roughly 35-40 minutes was generous; but for CDs, it's undeniably skimpy. In 1995, Sony's reissue-oriented Legacy label was fairly generous when assembling Give the People What They Want, a CD containing material from those gems as well as Back Stabbers and Survival. Everything here is first rate — from the angry socio-political commentary of "Give the People What They Want" and "Rich Get Richer" to the romantic optimism of "(They Call Me) Mr. Lucky," the CD reminds us how consistently superb the O'Jays were during the '70s. It also reminds us of another important fact: under Gamble & Huff, the group's albums tended to contain very little, if any, filler. Most of these pearls — including the moving "How Time Flies" and the biting "Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kind of People" — weren't even released as singles.


Formed: 1958 in Canton, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The O'Jays were one of Philadelphia soul's most popular and long-lived outfits, rivaled only by the Spinners as soul's greatest vocal group of the '70s. In their prime, the O'Jays' recordings epitomized the Philly soul sound: smooth, rich harmonies backed by elaborate arrangements, lush strings, and a touch of contemporary funk. They worked extensively with the legendary production/songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, becoming the flagship artist of the duo's Philadelphia International...
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Give the People What They Want, The O'Jays
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