ARTIST: The Stylistics
TITLE: The Very Best of the Stylistics…and More!
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 5: Betcha By Golly Wow (#3 US, #2 R&B, #13 UK), I’m Stone in Love with You (#10 US, #4 R&B, #9 UK), Break Up to Make Up (#5 US, #5 R&B, #34 UK), Rockin’ Roll Baby (#14 US, #3 R&B, #6 UK), You Make Me Feel Brand New (#2 US, #5 R&B, #2 UK), Heavy Fallin’ Out (#42 US, #4 R&B), Sing Baby Sing (#3 UK), Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love) (#51 US, #18 R&B, #1 UK), Na-Na Is the Saddest Word (#5 UK), Can’t Help Falling in Love (#52 R&B, #4 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart) (#23 US, #8 R&B), Let’s Put It All Together (#18 US, #8 R&B, #9 UK),
LINEUP: Russell Thompkins, Jr., Airrion Love, Herbie Murrell, James Smith, James Dunn
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A hits plys more collection of one of the classic soul vocal groups from the 70’s.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Russell Thompkins, Jr.’s falsetto was the perfect vehicle for the Stylistics and producer Thom Bell. Bell, with lyricist Linda Creed, constructed melodies, lyrics, and arrangements that perfectly fit Thompkins’ voice. Lush, romantic, and pleasing to soul and adult contemporary fans, the Stylistics were the go-to romantic jam for the early-to-mid 70’s.
Up until the smash “You Make Me Feel Brand New”, Bell worked with the Stylistics, but when he left, the hits dried up in the US, while they were still popular in Europe. Eventually, they gave in to the disco era, and that was pretty much the end of the gravy train – and the end of this collection shows it.
Still, the first half plus is fantastic, and a must for everyone nostalgic of the 70’s, or heck, even those who just love slow jam soul vocals.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: While Russell Thompkins, Jr. sang lead most of the time, their biggest US hit started with Airrion Love singing lead.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: There are two smaller comps, but the deep cuts of their early work are worth it for this. It does run dry at the end.