Tue. Sep. 28, 2021

The O’Jays – Message In Our Music

This Beat Is Mine! The O’Jays – Message In Our Music (Philadelphia International Records)

What would you ever think of a group claiming “there’s no message in our music”??? Chances are great you would wonder about the reason when not the interest to give it a listen, right? In other words, we’re writing about songwriting which is clearly missing in a majority of nowadays productions. Don’t get me wrong though, as I’m in no way nostalgic. But the facts tend to speak for themsleves with songs that have become a part of history by the likes of artists who’ve demonstrated as to how they had message(s) in their music. And I’m most likely speaking of social or political subjects such as inner-city life, environment or anti-war songs.

Not as explicit as most of the Hip-Hop songs, The O’Jays‘ ‘Message In Our Music’ is more of an overhall feeling warning us about the threat of manipulation. With Bobby Martin delivering some of his best arrangements ever while bringing it a subtle stellar jazzy feel.

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With warm thanks to Atlanta, GA-based correspondent, Kevin Benoist, for this week’s suggestion…

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– Fellow high school students Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Bobby Massey, Walter Powell and Bill Isles first sang together as The Triumphs then The Mascots in the early 60’s. They would get their final name as a tribute to Eddie O’Jay, a Cleveland-based DJ who helped them dropping their first release…

The O’Jays would reach their peak along with producers Gamble & Huff who signed them to their P.I.R. label in 1972. A liaison which led to countless classics. From ‘Love Train’ to ‘Back Stabbers’ that same year. To ‘Now That We Found Love’ and ‘For The Love Of Money’ in 1973. ‘Livin’ For The Weekend’,‘I Love Music’ and ‘Give People What They Want’ in 1975. This in addition to ‘Message In Our Music’ and ‘Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby’ the year after. Not to mention ‘Put Our Heads Together’ in 1983.

The end of the 80’s eventually saw them switching to EMI-America. One of their ultimate tracks worth the listen from then being the vibrant ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ with remixing work courtesy of Tony Humphries.

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