(5 / 5)
A real gem…“I Kinda Miss You – The Anthology: Columbia Records,1973-87,” is a two disc first-of-its-kind set by the legendary Manhattans that includes all of the soulful group’s charted singles recorded for Columbia over almost fifteen years. Plus we get a treat in the form of some choice cuts from the dozen albums the team dropped and one non-LP ‘B’ side (‘Gypsy Man’).
Formed in the late 1950s by original members Winfred ‘Blue’ Lovett, Edward ‘Sonny’ Bivins and Richard Taylor, The Manhattans enjoyed some success with Carnival Records in 1965, before switching to DeLuxe Records. There, with Gerald Alston as lead singer, in 1972 they had their first Top 10 hit with ‘One Life To Life.’
Moving to Columbia Records in 1973, The Manhattans began a run of hit singles and best-selling albums that started with the classic ballad, ‘There’s No Me Without You’ and ended 1979’s upbeat ‘All I Need.’
Disc One of this superb anthology traces the group’s stellar work primarily with Philadelphia soul producer Bobby Martin, and includes the No. 1 international hit, ‘Kiss And Say Goodbye’ along with super ballads such as ‘It Feels So Good To Be Loved By You,’ ‘We Never Danced To A Love Song’ and ‘I Kinda Miss You.’ Other stand-outs include the group’s version of Billy Joel’s ‘Everybody Has A Dream,’ ‘Here Comes The Hurt Again’ and a medley of ‘The Way We Were’ with The Temptations’ “Memories.”
The second disc focuses on the group’s work with various producers, including Chicago-based Leo Graham, responsible for the massive hit ‘Shining Star’; Morrie Brown who provided ‘Crazy,’ a US and UK charted hit; and soul legend Bobby Womack who produced ‘Where Did We Go Wrong’ featuring future hit-maker, Regina Belle. Highlights also include the original of Sam Dees’ ‘Just The Lonely Talking Again’ (later a hit for Whitney Houston) and the hidden gem, ‘Cloudy, With A Chance Of Tears.’
The package comes with extensive liner notes by music writer Charles Waring, include quotes from group members. The set is expertly mastered by Nick Robbins. When we think of legendary male soul vocal groups, The Manhattans may not be a name that always comes to mind. But they were fabulous at what they did, and their music stands the test of time. This collection is an essential listen.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’