The Intrigues

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1968-72)

- Alfred Brown -- vocals

- Ronald Hamilton -- vocals

- James Harris (RIP) -- vocals

- James Lee -- vocals


  line up 2  (1985-)

NEW - William Nobles Sr. -- vocals, guitar






Genre: soul

Rating: **** 4 stars

Title:  In a Minute

Company: Yew

Catalog:  YS 777

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00

In the Philadelphia soul sweepstakes today The Intrigues are largely forgotten also-rans.  That's unfortunate since these guys were quite talented, recording a slew of top notch singles and one above average album.


Formed in 1968,  the group featured Alfred Brown, Ronald Hamilton, James Harris and James Lee.  Signed by the small Toot imprint, they made their debut with an instantly obscure single:


- 1968's 'Soul Brother' b/w 'Soul Brother' (Toot catalog number 45-609)


The following year found them signed by the New York Bullet label releasing their sophomore 45:





- 1970's 'In a Minute' b/w 'Scotchman Rock' (Bullet catalog number N-1001)








The New York City based Yew Records subsequently acquired rights to the 45, reissuing it nationally.  With the single attracting international attention and hitting the US top-40 pop and top-10 R&B charts, Yew management elected to finance a supporting an album.  Recorded quickly and without a lot of creative effort, support albums tend to be fairly mundane releases.  Typical debut albums include the group's hit, surrounded by tunes the producers have written, or have a financial interest in and some moldy oldies they don't have to pay copyrights for.  That's particularly true for soul releases which are very much a product of the producers.  Producers pick the material, hire the studio musicians and handle the arrangements.  And while many Philly groups (particularly those signed to Philadelphia International), were virtually interchangeable; not so for The Intrigues.  Produced by Bobby Martin and Thom Bell, 1970's "In a Minute" proved unique in that the material was uniformly strong and even more of a surprise, it included four Alfred Brown originals.  When's the last time you saw that on a Philadelphia International album?  As lead singer Brown had a fantastic voice; powerful, but versatile and capable of being quite commercial.  While they were clearly a Philly soul outfit, 'Mojo Hanna' showcased an ablity to handle tougher, Stax-styled material.  Exemplified by their nice cover of The temptations' 'I Wish It Would Rain', Motown was also in their repertoire.  Throughout the album the group displayed a wonderful call and response dynamic, effortless breezing through material like the title track, their cover of 'I Wish It Would Rain', and the gorgeous 'I Gotta Find Out for Myself'.   Backed by some top-notch sessions players, by my count six of the ten tracks were keepers.  That's a fantastic statistic.  Shame they never got to record a follow-up LP.


"In a Minute" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Mojo Hanna   (Hale - Paul - Paul) - 2:24   rating: **** stars

Kicked along by some awesome fuzz guitar, for a Philadelphia group (let alone one produced by Thom Bell), 'Mojo Hanna' was surprisingly raw and funky.  More of a Memphis flavor than your standard Philly sound.  I liked it !!!

2.) I Wish  It Would Rain   (Norman Whitefield - Barrett Strong - Penabene) - 2:40   rating: **** stars

There was absolutely nothing with their cover of 'I Wish It Would Rain'.  The arrangement didn't mess with the classic melody, but was different enough to give the tune a bit of adventurism.  Love the harmonies on this one.  Very nice and one of the best covers I've heard.

3.) Love Is Just Around the Corner   (Robert L. Martin) - 2:43

4.) I Got Love   (Francis Hill) - 2:29   rating: *** stars

No idea who the studio drummer was, but he kicked the crap out of this one !!!  Nice up-tempo dance tune that would made a decent single.

5.) I Gotta Find Out for Myself   (Alfred Brown) - 2:16   rating: **** stars

The first of four Alfred Brown originals, 'I Gotta Find Out for Myself' was an awesome horn-powered ballad.  Built on a criminally catchy chorus that wouldn't leave you memory banks, you just had to wonder why this one wasn't a massive hit for the group. 


(side 2)

1.) In a Moment   (Alfred Brown) - 2:42  rating: **** stars

About all you need to know is that the title track stands as a lost soul classic.  Powered by Alfred Brown's whale of a voice, a wonderful breezy melody and a killer bass line,  this was easily as good as the best of Motown, or Stax.  Easy to see why it was tapped as a single.

- 1970's 'In a Minute' b/w 'Scotchman Rock' (Bullet catalog number N-1001)

2.) Let's Dance   (Alfred Brown) - 2:35  rating: **** stars

Propelled by a funky little guitar riff and some tight Stax-styled horns, the applicably titled 'Let's Dance' was one of the album's most commercial offerings.  I would have tapped it as a single, rather than relegating to a "B" side.  Always wondered if this one featured Brown on lead vocals.

3.) Light My Fire   (Densmore - Robbie Krieger - Ray Manzarek - Jim Morrison) - 3:46  rating: ** stars

Well, about all I'll say is that picking a Doors cover was certainly an odd choice.  Not sure if it was creatively brave, or just a lousy selection.

4.) You Just Got To Believe   (Alfred Brown) -2:03

5.) I'm Gonna Love You   (Akins - Drayton - Turner) - 2:07  rating: **** stars

Their second single for Yew, 'I'm Gonna Love You' toughened up the sound a bit (with nice results).  The raw, slightly ragged lead vocal has always reminded me of The Intruders' Sam (Little Sonny) Brown.





- 1969's 'I'm Gonna Love You' b/w 'I Gotta Find Out for Myself' (Yew catalog number N-1002) #86 pop




While the album did little commercially, Yew continued to release a string of singles over the next two years:

- 1970's 'Just a Little Bit More' b/w 'Let's Dance' (Yew catalog number N-1007)

- 1970's 'Tuck a Little Love Away' b/w 'I Know There's Love' (Yew catalog number N-1010)

- 1971's 'The Language of Love' b/w 'I Got Love' (Yew catalog number N-1012) #100 pop

- 1971's 'To Make a World' b/w 'Mojo Hanna' (Yet catalog number N-1013)


The following year Janus Records picked up the group, reissuing the last Yew single and an equally obscure follow-on 45:


- 1972's 'To Make a World' b/w 'Mojo Hanna' (Janus catalog number J-175)

- 1972's 'I Wanna Know' b/w 'Fly Now - Pay Later)' (Janus catalog number J-185)