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The Ebonys (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Even though their vocal ability was as good as many, if not supreme, this Camden, NJ-based vocal quartet did not threaten the chart action of any of its competitors; however, this album is home to the group's most popular single, "It's Forever." With the song's serene intro, the four singers harmonize their way to the verse where the lead vocals, both baritone and falsetto, bring enhancing deliveries to an already outstanding track. The single peaked at number 14 on the R&B charts after 13 weeks. The second single was "I Believe." Originally a pop hit for Frankie Laine in 1953, the Ebonys' version retains some of that pop texture. However, the group's vocal explosiveness leaves a lasting R&B impression. After 13 weeks, the song reached number 34 on the charts. "Life in the Country" was the third single — a moderately paced ballad reminiscent of early Stylistics, who were also emerging around the same time this album was released. While this album is balanced with moderate grooves, the aforementioned ballads and the unreleased "I'll Try" stand out. The production work of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and their colleagues is outstanding. [The Ebonys was reissued in 2003 and featured improved sound, new liner notes that include insights from arranger Bobby Martin, and four bonus tracks: the disco-fied "Do You Like the Way I Love," the mono version of the very funky "Do It," the modest 1971 R&B chart hit "Determination," and the edited version of the deep, ultra Philly ballad "It's Forever." Unlike many reissues that just seem to throw extra tracks randomly on the end of the original album, the selections here add a great deal of extra value to the original release and make a good record even better.]


Formed: 1967 in Camden, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s

Another '70s soul group whose commercial track record doesn't do its music justice, the Ebonys made gripping, dramatic ballads that no soul fan undervalues. On the Philadelphia International label during an era when they routinely cranked out transcendent, genre-smashing hits, this New Jersey vocal group started in 1968. Jenny Holmes, David Beasley, James Tuten, and Clarence Vaughan formed the lineup, and Leon Huff discovered them. They scored their first hit with "You're the Reason Why," a number...
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The Ebonys (Deluxe Version), The Ebonys
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