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The Real Thing Selected Hits

The Real Thing

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Album Review

Dominated by the monster hit and U.K. chart-topper "You to Me Are Everything," truly one of the benchmark moments in the development of mid-'70s U.K. soul, the Real Thing's fall 1976 debut arrived hot on the heels of their second major smash, "Can't Get by Without You," and between those two songs, everything you need to know about the Real Thing is on display. Blindingly romantic, gently persuasive, and smooth as a summer sea, The Real Thing is as much a showcase for the quartet's Philly-felt vocals as for the material; the moments when they do toughen up, such as the gently cynical "(He's Just A) Moneymaker," are contrarily the weakest tracks, whereas the softer ballads send the romantic's pulse racing. The third of the album's three hit singles, the closing "You'll Never Know What You're Missing," is as fine a promise as anything Gamble & Huff were delivering at this time. But it is "You to Me Are Everything" that remains the album's high point, its unabashed sentiment racing into a soaring chorus that is impossible to shake away. The Real Thing would end the decade as Britain's highest-selling black act of the late '70s. As the best (and best-selling) of their albums, The Real Thing accounts for much of their pre-eminence.

Biography

Formed: Liverpool, England

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Northern soul had emerged in the north of England when the Real Thing formed in 1970, but the disco/funk/soul quartet couldn't get into the obscure R&B sounds, preferring instead the more progressive soul of the Temptations, Barry White, and funk jams. The Liverpool natives aspired for international success, a dream that went unfulfilled. Original members Chris Amoo, Dave Smith, Kenny Davis, and Ray Lake began by covering and remaking popular American recordings, and experienced payback when...
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