The Intruders

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1960-70)

- Sam (Little Sonny) Brown (RIP 1995) -- lead vocals

- Eugene 'Bird' Daughtery (RIP 1994) - vocals

- Robert (Big Sonny) Edwards -- vocals

- Phillip Terry -- vocals


  line up 2 (1970-73)

- Eugene 'Bird' Daughtery (RIP 1994) - vocals

- Robert (Big Sonny) Edwards -- vocals

NEW - Bobby Starr (aka Robert Ferguson) -- lead vocals

  (replaced Sam Brown) 

- Phillip Terry -- vocals 


  line up 3 (1973-74)

NEW - Sam (Little Sonny) Brown (RIP 1995) -- lead vocals

- Eugene 'Bird' Daughtery (RIP 1994) - vocals

- Robert (Big Sonny) Edwards -- vocals 

- Phillip Terry -- vocals


  line up 4 (1983-84)

- Eugene 'Bird' Daughtery (RIP 1994) - vocals 

NEW - Fred Daughetry -- vocals 

NEW - Al Miller -- vocals (1984)

NEW - Lee Williams -- lead vocals (1984)




- The Fanatics (Fred Daughtery)

- The Four Intruders

- Bobby Starr and the Versatile Singles




Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (4 stars)

Title:  The Intruders Are Together

Company: Gamble 

Catalog: SG-5001

Year: 1967

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5151

Price: $80.00


Most people don't realize it, but The Intruders are the guys who made Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff rich.


Sam (Little Sonny) Brown, Eugene 'Bird' Daughtery and Robert (Big Sonny) Edwards started their musical collaboration singing in a Gospel group.  By the late 1950's they'd abandoned secular sounds for doo-wop, and in 1960 the trio crossed paths with fellow doo-wop singer Phillip Terry.  When Terry's group called it quits he was invited to join the other three.  Originally known as The Four Intruders, the group's debut came via the small Philly-based Gowan label:


- 1961's  'I'm Sold' b/w Come Home Soon' (Gowan catalog number 1401 A/B)

- 1962's 'This Is My Song' b/w 'My Baby' (Gowan catalog number 1404 A/B)


Neither song did much commercially, leaving the group to spend the next two years working Philly clubs while expanding their repertoire to include R&B and soul moves.


Finding a mentor in the form of manager Leroy Lovett, 1964 saw the group record a series of demos for Frank Bendinelli and Lovett.  Two of the tracks were subsequently released by the small Music Voice label - 'Gonne Be Strong' b/w 'Jack Be Nimble' (Music Voice catalog number 504), though the 45 again disappeared without a trace.  Ironically, the single paved the way for future successes in that it brought the group together with producers/managers/record label owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.  As active participants on the Philly music scene, Gamble and Huff had actually opened for and backed The Intruders.  As such they were aware of the group's talent and started to work with the quartet.  Having finally started their own record label with an investment from Philly DJ Soloman Rudman, two years later the Gamble-Huff-Intruders partnership debuted with the single 'Gonna Be Strong' b/w 'All the Time' (Excel catalog number 101).  While it failed to break nationally, the single proved a local hit, providing enough cash flow to allow Gamble and Huff to drop the Excel nameplate (they were apparently threatened with a lawsuit by another company with the same name), in favor of Gamble Records.  Gamble and The Intruders quickly scored a top-20 R&B hit with '(We'll Be) United' b/w 'Up and Down the Ladder' (Gamble catalog number G-105).  Released as a follow-on single 1966's 'A Book for the Broken Hearted' b/w 'A Devil with An Angels Smile' (Gamble catalog number G-203) also did well locally.


As was standard marketing procedure, on the heels of the group's commercial successes, Gamble and Huff pushed The Intruders into the studio to record a supporting LP.  Produced by Gamble and Huff, (the pair also wrote most of the twelve tracks) 1967's "The Intruders Are Together" could be seen as served as a proving ground for the duo's forthcoming Philly International sound.  In spite occasional strings, horns, female backing choruses and other sweetening production effects, material like '(You'd Better) Check Yourself', 'Gonna Be Strong' and 'Up and Down the Ladder' was far more rugged and R&B oriented than much of the Philly competition.  Perhaps a reflection of the group's street and club roots, it made for an interesting match with Brown's weird, always flat sounding voice.  Instantly recognizable, his hoarse and barely in-tune performances on tracks like 'A Love That's Real', 'Good for My Girl' and the earlier single 'United' left you wondering whether he'd be able to get through the song without running out of air, or having an aneurisms). Anyone looking for something as smooth and sophisticated as forthcoming releases by the likes if Harold Melvin and the Bluejays, or The O'Jays was probably going to be disappointed by this one, though that rawness makes for much of the album's unique appeal.


Gamble also tapped the album for a couple of singles:


- 1967's 'It Must be Love' b/w 'Check Yourself' (Gamble catalog number G-204)

- 1967's 'Together' b/w 'Up and Down the Ladder of Love' (Gamble catalog number G-205)

- 1967's 'A Love That's Real' b/w 'Baby I'm Lonely' (Gamble catalog number G-209)


"The Intruders Are Together" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Together   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:47

2.) A Devil with An Angels Smile   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:58

3.) (You'd Better) Check Yourself   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:33

4.) A Love That's Real   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:35

5.) It Must Be Love   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:33

6.) Baby I'm Lonely   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:51


(side 2)

1.) United   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:43

2.) Gonna Be Strong   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:50

3.) But You Belong To Me   (Frank Benedinelli - Lee) - 2:20

4.) Good for My Girl   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:47

5.) A Book for the Broken Hearted   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:25

6.) Up and Down the Ladder   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:56 


Not to sound morbid, but these guys have suffered from a rather high mortality rate.  Daugherty died of cancer in December 1994.  After years of drug abuse and mounting mental problems, Brown committed suicide in April 1995 by jumping off a bridge into Philadelphia's Schuykill River.



Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  When We Get Married

Company: Gamble 

Catalog: LPSG 5008

Year: 1970

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3442

Price: $25.00


The Intruders' first album in three years found them operating with a modified line-up.  Having elected to drop out of music to spend time with his family, lead singer Sam (Little Sonny) Brown was gone, replaced by Bobby Starr (formerly of Bobby Starr and the Versatile Singles).  The Intruders had previously crossed paths with Starr and his group while on tour.  Perhaps not a major surprise, but Starr was hired largely due to the fact his voice was a good match for Brown's raw and ragged delivery.   


Produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, 1970's "When We Get Married" effectively picked up where the group left off.  With Gamble and Huff again penning the bulk of material, the album was noteworthy for featuring support from what would become the cream of  the Philadelphia International studio band.  Musically The Intruders had always made their reputations as a ballads-oriented outfit and that continued here.  With xx of eleven songs being ballads, the album included a couple of classic performances.  Their remake of The Dreamlovers' 'When We Get Married' and '' were both memorable.  Equally good were atypical up-tempo numbers like 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Let Me In Your Mind'.   The bad news was that everything else fell into so-so territory - not horrible, but not terribly memorable.  Coming on the heels of the first two classic albums, this one was a modest disappointment.


"When We Get Marriedr" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) When We Get Married   (Don Hogan) -  rating: **** stars

The Dreamlovers scored the original hit in 1962 and I have to admit I'm always surprised at how much I like this old school ballad.  Yeah, it was sappy as all get down, but it was soooooooooo sweet.  One of their classic performances and one of those songs that thousands of folks have used to celebrate their nuptials.

- 1970's 'When We Get Married' b/w '(Love Doctor) Doctor, Doctor' (Gamble catalog number G 4004)  # 45 pop; # 8 R&B

2.) The Best Days of My Life   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 3:21  rating: *** stars

Technically 'The Best Days of My Life' was kind of a mess.  While the tune had a commercial melody, it was over-orchestrated and new singer Starr suffered from the same limitations as Sam Brown - namely, if you listened closely, the poor man sounded like he was drowning on his own phlegm.  On the other hand, if you don't listen too closely, the song was a dance-ready treat.





- 1968's 'The Best Days of My Life' b/w 'Pray for Me' (Gamble catalog number (G1014)






3.) One In a Million   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:49

4.) Hocus Pocus   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff -  Drayton - Bellmon) - 2:09  rating: **** stars

'Hocus Pocus' was an atypical, bouncy, upbeat highly commercial track.  It was also a nice showcase for new singer Starr.  His voice bore an uncanny resemblance to Brown.  Shame it wasn't tapped as a single.

5.) Guess Who's Love You   (Bellmon - Turner -  Akines - Drayton - Kenny Gamble) - 2:37   rating: ** stars

Maybe it was just me, but the ballad 'Guess Who Loves You' seemed to have a very dated sound.  Coupled with the heavy instrumentation Bobby Starr's raspy voice (sounding very much like Sam Brown) , this one was kind of painful to sit through.  

6.) Wonder What Kind of Bag She's In   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:36


(side 2)

1.) This Is My Love Song   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 3:46  rating: ** stars

Another ballad, 'This Is My Love Song' was just too old school and sappy for my tastes, though I can understand why some folks will appreciate it.  

- 1970's 'This Is My Love Song' b/w 'Let Me In Your Mind' (Gamble catalog number G 4007)

2.) Let Me In Your Mind  (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:11    rating: **** stars

Coming on the heels of the previous tune, the upbeat 'Let Me In Your Mind' sounded positively cutting edge - the arrangement even including a dollop of fuzz guitar.   Nobody seems to agree with me, but Starr's clipped vocal sounded like it had a little bit of reggae influence in it.  One of my favorite tunes on the album.

3.) Tender (Was the Love We Knew)   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 2:42  rating: *** stars

Hard for me to explain it, but to my ears the lead vocals on the ballad 'Tender (Was the Love We Knew)' sounded like a Sam Brown leftover.  There was just something in the flat, growling delivery that screamed Brown.   

- 1970's 'Tender (Was the Love We Knew)' b/w 'By the Time I Get To Phoenix' (Gamble catalog G-4001)

4.) I Didn't Know   (Dozier - Phillips - Bunny Sigler - Phill Hurtt) - 2:47

5.) Brand New Me   (Kenny Gamble - Thom Bell - Jerry Butler) - 2:33

Funny that I know this song via the Dusty Springfield cover.



. He brings as much magic to the table on this album as Sonny did beforehand, and would do again from 1973 and later. My favorite song on here is "One In A Million." It is a bluesy mid-tempo number with lyrics of heartbreak about a guy who loses a lover whom he thought to be the one, and hasn't been able to love other women afterwards in the same manner. "Hocus Pocus" is a funkier number that deals with using magic to seduce a woman, a funny upbeat groove and song. "Wonder What Kind Of Bag She's In" reminds me in musical style of the Delfonic's 1970 classic (Didn't I) Blow Your Mind This Time, at least in terms of the hook. The title song is a remake of a 1961 doo-wop classic by the Dreamlovers, a fellow Philly group who formed aroung the same time of the Intruders in the very early 60's. This cover shows the top notch doo-wop harmony the Intruders have had since 1960 and would for a long time thereafter. "Best Days Of My Love" is another mid-tempo song about reminiscing on a wonderful relationship that has ended. I love the doo-wop harmonizing again on "Guess Who Loves You" with a slower tempo, perfect for the blue light dance. "Brand New Me" is a slow jam with a positive message about the good effects of a relationship on a guy. The other songs not mentioned here all contribute to an overall wonderful album. I highly recommend it, and if you have a turntable, acquiring the record without an accompanying MP3 file loaded cd, might work for you, although the album itself is of moderate difficulty to find, but not difficult. Albums like this are why I love the early Philly soul sound so much.



Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (4 stars)

Title:  The Intruders Greatest Hits

Company: Gamble 

Catalog: SG-5005

Year: 1969

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG- / VG

Comments: 3 inch seam split along top; minor edge wear elsewhere

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: 4518

Price: SOLD $10.00

Cost: $66.00


Today they're all but forgotten to everyone outside of old school fanatics ...  That's infinitely saddening since The Intruders were one of the most impressive outfits during the late-1960s through mid-1970s heyday of soul vocal groups.   


There isn't mush to say about this 1969 compilation other than it pulls together the cream of their Gamble Records catalog.  By my count, the set includes at least six singles, the earliest track being 1966's '(We'll Be) United', while the latest effort was 1969's 'Me Tarzan, You Jane'.  Excellent place to get acquainted with Sam Brown's labored lead vocals ...


"The Intruders Greatest Hits" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Cowboys To Girls   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

2.) Slow Drag   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

3.) Together   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

4.) Girls Girls Girls   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

5.) United   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 


(side 2)

1.) Me Tarzan, You Jane   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

2.) A Love That's Real   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

3.) (Who's Your) Favorite Candidate   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

4.) Friends No More   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 

5.) (Love Is Like A) Baseball Game   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 



Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Save the Children

Company: Gamble 

Catalog: KZ 31991

Year: 1973

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5876

Price: $20.00


This album isn't exactly rare, but good luck finding a copy in decent shape ...


1973's Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff produced "Save the Children" marked a return to the original line up with the return of Sam (Little Sonny) Brown to the fold.  At least to my ears Brown's raspy voice has always been instantly recognizable, if not immediately likeable.  The man was clearly talented, but his limited range and raw deliveries always sounded like he was slowly strangling on a mouthful of sand.  In spite of those stylistic limitations, it was nice to hear him back with the rest of the group (Eugene 'Bird' Daughtery, Robert (Big Sonny) Edwards, and Phillip Terry).  Unfortunately Gamble and Huff didn't take advantage of the situation.  Instead of playing to the group's strengths surrounding The Intruders with up-tempo material, two thirds of the album were made up of ballads and mid-tempo numbers which gave the album a deadening, sounds-the-same feel.  Sure, there were a couple of exceptions to the rule.  The title track saw them turned in a surprisingly nice and effective cover of a Gil-Scott Heron song, while 'I'll Always Love My Mama' was a classic slice of Philly soul.  


"Save the Children" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Save the Children   (Gil Scott-Heron) - 6:58   rating: **** stars

Deciding to cover a Gil-Scott Heron song was an interesting way to open the album.  With first rate support from MFSB, producers Gamble and Huff smoothed out much of Heron's original anger and frustration, injecting a smooth a likable jazzy-groove that was perfect for Brown's raspy lead vocals.   

2.) Mother and Child Reunion   (Paul Simon) - 4:04   rating: ** stars

Unfortunately, their attempt to 'soul up' Paul Simon's 'Mother and Child Reunion' wasn't nearly as impressive.  The original's reggae flavor was all but absent; replaced by a super slick and vapid arrangement.

3.) I Wanna Know Your Name   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 5:49   rating: ** stars

Spotlighting Brown, 'I Wanna Know Your Name' was a bland and seemingly endless slow jam with some amazingly lame pick-up line lyrics.  Hopefully Brown was embarrassed by the spoken word rap segment.  Other than the gorgeous harmony vocals the song was hideous.  

- 1973's 'I Wanna Know Your Name' b/w 'Hang On In There'  (Gamble catalog number ZS7 2508) # 60 pop; # 9 R&B

4.) To Be Happy Is the Real Thing   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 3:28   rating: ** stars

Sagging under some of Gamble and Huff 's patented 'feel good' lyrics, 'To Be Happy Is the Real Thing' at least had a decent up-tempo melody going for it.  Could have been a great song.  

(side 2)
1.) I'll Always Love My Mama   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff - John Whitehead - Gene McFadden) - 6:38    rating: ***** stars 

Built on a chugging disco beat there was no denying that lyrically 'I'll Always Love My Mama' was one of Gamble and Huff's sappiest songs.  That said it was also instantly memorable and provided the group with one of their biggest hits.  It's also one of those rare songs where the extended album track was better than the shorter 45 version.  Funny to hear the mid-section rap, especially when they start dissing dad.  Sounds hopelessly naive today ...   

   7 inch

- 1973's 'I'll Always Love Me Mama (Part 1) b/w 'I'll Always Love My Mama (Part II)  (Gamble catalog number ZS7 2506)

  12 inch

- 1973's 'I'll Always Love Me Mama (Part 1) b/w 'Save the Children)  (Philadelphia International catalog number 2ZB 3689)

YouTube has an August, 1973 Soul Train performance of the song: 

2.) Memories Are Here To Stay   (T. Life - T. Conway - P. Terry) - 3:15   rating: ** stars

Another big, old school ballad, with the exception of the group's classic harmonies, 'Memories Are Here To Stay' didn't have much to distinguish it from the rest of the album.  

3.) Teardrops   (E. Charles - H. Stanley - R. Calhoun - B. Golden) - 5:07   rating: ** stars

Though it featured one of the better lead vocals, 'Teardrop' was a forgettable 1950s-flavored ballad.   

4.) Hang On In There   (Kenny Gamble - Leon Huff) - 3:21   rating: **** stars 

Admittedly it took a couple of spins for me to discover the charms embedded in the closer 'Hang On In There'.  This one was a good example of what could have been - Gamble and Huff making a concerted and successful effort to update and smooth out the group's sound. 


Certainly not the best Intruders album, but an interesting late inning release that should appeal to lots of genre fans.