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Soul - Released June 9, 1991 | Legacy - Epic Associated

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A major turning point for the O'Jays, Back Stabbers took the group to the top of the charts and made them household names in the R&B world. The O'Jays had been paying serious dues since the late '50s, and their perseverance payed off in a major way when the unsettling title song, the infectious "Time to Get Down," and the uplifting "Love Train" became their biggest hits up to that point. Indeed, this album did more than its part to help establish Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records as the most successful soul label since Stax and Motown. ~ Alex Henderson
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R&B/Soul - Released October 23, 2007 | Epic - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soul - Released April 19, 2019 | S-Curve Records

In the early 70's, the O'Jays reached the top of the soul charts with their hits Back Stabbers, Love Train, Put Your Hands Together and For the Love of Money. The trio was then one of the spearheads of Philly Sound, this soul infused with silk concocted by the Gamble & Huff duo of the PIR label (Philadelphia International Records). Now in their seventies, two of the founding members, Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, and Eric Nolan Grant, who arrived in the mid-90s, are showing no signs of stopping. Which is great news, because listening to The Last Word their pure ball of groove has kept momentum and effectiveness. Pure vintage soul juice (that even draws on engaging texts like on Above the Law) that makes you want to pull out the flares and platform boots. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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R&B/Soul - Released April 2, 2001 | Epic - Associated - Legacy

With few viable alternatives, this can be considered the ultimate O'Jays collection only by default, as it focuses exclusively on recordings from the years 1972-1975, cutting off some reasonable and sometimes very well-known singles from before and after that time frame. Still, this was the period that saw the O'Jays at their commercial and artistic zenith, and these are the songs that most of the public thinks of when the O'Jays' name is mentioned. "Back Stabbers," "Love Train," "I Love Music," "Put Your Hands Together," "For the Love of Money," "Give the People What They Want," and "Livin' for the Weekend" are all on this 16-track compilation, as well as a number of smaller hits and LP-only cuts. It's a solid (and, with 75 minutes of music, good-value) collection documenting both the peak of the O'Jays and the peak of the Philly soul sound in general. ~ Richie Unterberger
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R&B - Released March 1, 1972 | Epic - Legacy

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R&B/Soul - Released April 15, 2003 | Epic - Legacy

The "other" O'Jays album masterpiece, Ship Ahoy combined shattering message tracks and stunning love songs in a fashion matched only by Curtis Mayfield's finest material. From the album cover showing a slave ship to the memorable title song and incredible "For the Love of Money," Gamble and Huff addressed every social ill from envy to racism and greed. Eddie Levert's leads were consistently magnificent, as were the harmonies, production and arrangements. "Put Your Hands Together" and "You Got Your Hooks In Me" would be good album cuts, but on Ship Ahoy they were merely icing on the cake. ~ Ron Wynn
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R&B/Soul - Released October 26, 2004 | Epic - Legacy

The Essential O'Jays covers 1972's Back Stabbers through 1978's So Full of Love, including all but six of the Philly soul group's charting singles from the period. Nearly every crucial hit is here, including the number one R&B singles "Back Stabbers," "Give the People What They Want," "I Love Music," "Livin' for the Weekend," "Love Train," "Stairway to Heaven," and "Use ta Be My Girl." A pair of singles that put major dents in the disco chart, "Unity" (number one) and "Rich Get Richer" (number six), are not here, but this disc was still one of the better single-disc O'Jays compilations made available. ~ Andy Kellman
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R&B/Soul - Released May 30, 2000 | Epic - Associated - Legacy

The O'Jays followed the spectacular Backstabbers and Ship Ahoy with the good, but not on the same level, Survival. It was unrealistic to expect masterpieces every time out, and the LP included many strong ballads and good message tracks. But while it may not have been as epic in its performances and compositions, it was certainly the other albums' equal in sales strength. The group had two number one R&B hits in 1975, "Give The People What They Want" and "I Love Music (Part 1)." In addition, the title track made the charts as the B-side to "Let Me Make Love To You," another rousing ballad. ~ Ron Wynn

Soul - Released June 15, 2018 | Music World Music L.L.C.

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Like many soul giants of the '70s who continue to perform and record new material, the O'Jays have updated their sound for a more contemporary feel. While Eddie Levert and company's nearly flawless vocal harmonies continue to be the anchor of the group, the clinical production found throughout is in sharp contrast with some of the warmer, most intimate moments of their Philadelphia International years. The songwriting is still among the best of their contemporaries (most notably on the quite creative "Repair Man" and "Chauvinistic") and proves that you can keep up with popular music in a dignified, classy manner without pandering to younger audiences and paying ludicrous amounts of money to have A-list producers remix your tracks. It's not exactly a return to the fold of brilliance that they once had, but it's close and still quite a pleasant-sounding record. Most longtime devotees will enjoy this album from start to finish, and a few younger cats could learn a thing or two from a group of soul veterans who get the job done right nearly every time. ~ Rob Theakston
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Pop - Released October 23, 2007 | Legacy Recordings

Compared to their other Philadelphia International releases, Identify Yourself is weak. Of the eight sides, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff produced only four, while Thom Bell contributed one. The other three are from the O'Jays' camp. "Forever Mine" scored on the R&B charts. The rest of the LP, however, save for the title cut and "Get Out and Party," is unmemorable. "Sing a Happy Song" is catchy, but it's also irritating. ~ Andrew Hamilton
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R&B - Released September 2, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

The O'Jays didn't have any big crossover hits or R&B chart-toppers with this album, but it was still a fine effort. The production and arrangements were outstanding, the harmonies and leads nicely done, and there were several fine songs. It produced some R&B chart singles, although nothing proved a smash. If anything, it was proof that sometimes no matter what the artists and producers do, it just doesn't succeed to the extent that it should or they hoped. ~ Ron Wynn
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Pop - Released October 23, 2007 | Legacy Recordings

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Pop - Released October 23, 2007 | Legacy Recordings

The O'Jays' vocals are stellar throughout this lively eight-song collection. Political and social lyrics weigh heavy but don't overburden this set. "Darlin' Darlin' Baby" is a killer midtempo love romp with equally effective leads by Eddie Levert and Walter Williams. "Paradise" was overlooked, with Walter Williams doing his falsetto "doo dah"s on the breaks and the trio spitting out Gamble & Huff's lyrics at breakneck speed. "Make a Joyful Noise" finds Levert wailing like a Baptist preacher on a song that's more gospel than R&B; the title track is a typical message song made extraordinary by a great production and sensational vocals. The harmonies on "I Swear I Love No One But You" will blow you away. Another good slice of soul from the Canton, OH, natives. ~ Andrew Hamilton
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R&B/Soul - Released August 9, 1994 | Epic - Legacy

All of the band's monster 1972-1976 Philadelphia International hits are here, as well as a couple of small ones. The essay by Robert Palmer is good, but at a mere ten tracks, the selection is unaccountably skimpy. There's nothing wrong with this for fans who just want the most familiar items, but Collector's Item is a better value for those who want more than the group's biggest songs. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Pop - Released October 23, 2007 | Legacy Recordings

This album from the Cleveland, OH-based trio continues to priimarily convey a profound social message of the album's key producers and label owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Gamble in particular was the lyrical force that kept the O'Jays' (and label mates') songs seasoned with a conscious meaning that has come to transcend time. On this set, the only number to chart was the charged "Work on Me." While Walt Williams is as smooth as always, Eddie Levert interjects his invigorating vocal delivery with feet-stomping ad libs. The single slipped into the Billboard R&B charts' Top Ten at #7, staying afloat for 17 weeks. The threesome stay consistent with their previous Gamble/Huff releases by intertwining gospel rhythms, R&B melodies, sermonic lyrics and breathtaking vocal exhibitions. Most of the tracks here represent the upbeat groove the group is known for. The O'Jays mellow-out with "Feelings" and "Let's Spend Some Time Together." The former is a re-make of the classic pop standard. The common listener would not recognize Williams' falsetto introduction or Eddie Levert's toned-down, somber approach to the lyric. However, as the song builds, Eddie's trademark style begans to surface. The latter is another atypical O'Jays number. Williams breezes through this doo wop-flavored number; a style for which they are not known. Both are beautiful numbers and too little heard from. ~ Craig Lytle
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Soul - Released December 12, 2018 | S-Curve Records

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R&B - Released September 2, 2014 | Legacy Recordings

Futuristically titled, The Year 2000 may arguably be the O'Jays' least compelling Philadelphia International LP. Only Bunny Sigler's sensuous, grinding "Once Is Not Enough" has that oomph, and it went unnoticed on this hitless collection. Sigler always delivered the goods for the O'Jays composing some of the Canton natives' most soulful songs -- "You and I," "Sunshine," and "You Got Your Hooks In Me," to name a few. The seven other songs (some from the O'Jays camp) would have been thumbed down by Motown's quality control department and banished to the vaults forever. ~ Andrew Hamilton
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R&B - Released June 10, 2008 | Philadelphia International Records - Epic - Legacy

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R&B - Released September 2, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

Even average O'Jays' releases have outstanding tracks, and My Favorite Person is a prime example. Its single releases didn't make much of a splash, so the LP went unnoticed, as compared to some of their other Philadelphia International offerings. "I Just Want to Satisfy You" didn't ignite the charts when dropped as the first single from the album, though it was a nice lilting number with a lazy, light baritone lead by Walter Williams. But selections like "Your Body's Here with Me (But Your Mind Is on the Other Side of Town") -- a devastating soul-to-the-bone ballad that scored well on R&B stations but was ignored by pop radio -- are definitive O'Jays. The same is true of the almost-as-good "Your True Heart (A Shining Star)"; a piano is raised in the mix and provides a good counter to Eddie Levert's outstanding lead. Cleveland native Cecil Womack (Bobby Womack's brother and former Valentino) contributed as a songwriter and musician. ~ Andrew Hamilton
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R&B - Released July 22, 2014 | Epic - Legacy