Stylistics, The

Band members               Related acts

- James Dunn -- baritone (1968-78)

- Airron Love -- tenor (1968-)

- Herb Murrell -- baritone (1968-)

- James Smith -- bass (1968-)

- Russell Thompkins Jr. -- lead vocals (1968-)

- Raymond Thompson -- bass (replaced James Smith)




- The Monarchs (James Dunn and Herb Murrell)

- The Percussion )Airron Love, James Smith and Russell

  Thompkins Jr.)





Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Round 2

Company: AVCO

Catalog: AV-11006-598

Year: 1972

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: original AVCO inner sleeve; minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4564

Price: $8.00

Cost: $66.00


All hyperbole aside, 1972's "Round 2" has to be considered one of the shining moments of mid-1970s soul.  Produced, conducted, arranged and largely written by Thom Bell (with Linda Creed getting co-writing credits on most of the ten tracks), the group's sophomore set proved a creative and commercial blockbuster.  Propelled by Russell Tompkin's instantly recognizable tenor and the cream of Sigma Studios sessions players, there simply wasn't a bad song on the set. Even the two MOR covers were stunning good - their take on Carole King's 'It's Too Late' was actually better than the original, while Thompkins and company managed to overcome Burt Bachrach and Hal David's penchant for sappiness on 'You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)'.  Personal favorite - the atypical up tempo 'Pieces'.  As mentioned before, the album proved a commercial bonanza, spinning off three top-40 hits for the group:


- 1972's 'I'm Stoned In Love with You' b/w 'Make It Last' (AVCO catalog number AV-4603)

- 1973's 'Break Up To Make Up' b/w 'You and Me' (AVCO catalog number AV-4611)

- 1973's 'You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)' b/w 'If You Don't Watch Out' (AVCO catalog number AV-4618)


Bottom line, it just doesn't get much better than this !!!  A classic album that no soul (or pop) fan should be without. (Always wondered about the different covers.  Most copies have the two fists super imposed over the globe.  Is this an early pressing, or a latter version?)


"Round 2" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I'm Stoned In Love with You   (Thom Bell - Anthony Bell - Linda Creed) - 3:22

2.) If You Don't Watch Out   (Thom Bell - Linda Creed) - 2:37

3.) You and Me   (Thom Bell - Linda Creed) - 2:46

4.) It's Too Late   (Carole King - Toni Stern) - 4:23

5.) Children of the Night   (Thom Bell - Linda Creed) - 7:04


(side 2)
1.) You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) - 3:40

2.) Break Up To Make Up   (Thom Bell - Linda Creed - Kenny Gamble) - 4:02

3.) Peek-a-Boo  (G. Guess - N. Knox) - 2:56

4.) You're As Right As Rain   (Thom Bell - Linda Creed) - 3:49

5.) Pieces   (Thom Bell - Linda Creed) - 3:13





Genre: soul

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Thank You Baby

Company: AVCO

Catalog: AV-69008

Year: 1975

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG


Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4563

Price: $8.00

Cost: $66.00



All good things must come to an end and The Stylistics string of creative and commercial success started to rapidly decline with the release of 1975's "Thank You Baby".  With long standing producer Thom Bell no longer working with the group, Hugo Creatore and Luigi Peretti were brought in as replacements, with Van McCoy handling arrangements.  The combination may have looked good on paper, but in practice it was pretty much a disaster.  Penned by Creatore, Peretti and George David Weiss, material such as the title track, 'Can't Give You Anything (But My Love) and 'I'd Rather Be Hurt By You (Than Be Loved By Someone Else)' simply wasn't very strong.  With the exception of the goofy 'Honky Tonk Cafe' and the up tempo 'I'm Gonna Stay', Thompkins and company seemed uninspired by the songs.  For goodness sale, they even made Herb Murrell waste his nice voice handling the lead on an awful disco song ('Disco Baby').  Not a proud moment in The Stylistics' catalog ...


"Thank You Baby" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Thank You Baby   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3:43

2.) Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3:13

3.) What Goes Around Comes Around   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3:09

4.) I'd Rather Be Hurt By You (Than Be Loved By Someone Else)   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3:38

5.) Disco Baby   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3:15


(side 2)
1.) Tears and Souvenirs   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 4:07

2.) A Honky Tonk Cafe   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3;30

3.) I'm Gonna Win   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 4:16

4.) Stay   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 3:04

5.) Sing Baby Sing   (Hugo Creatore - Luigi Peretti - George David Weiss) - 2:50



Genre: soul

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Hurry Up This Way Again

Company: TSOP

Catalog: JZ-36470

Year: 1980

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4866

Price: $10.00


With late-1970s popular tastes having rendered old school soul out of fashion,   The Stylistics would seem to have been up the proverbial creative and commercial creek.  To their credit, the group still had a couple of tricks up their collective sleeves, including getting Philadelphia International's TSOP subsidiary to sign them to a contract. 


Under the Gamble-Huff umbrella 1980's "Hurry Up This Way Again" sought to blend the group's patented moves with Philly International's instantly recognizable pseudo disco-ish sound.  To be honest, the results were somewhat mixed.  On upbeat, dance-oriented tracks such as 'Driving Me Wild' and 'It Started Out' Russell Thompkins Jr.'s falsetto simply wasn't a great match for pounding dance beats and the usually Philly International production touches (female backing choruses, heavy orchestration).  Among the few exceptions where the blend worked were the pensive title track (very nice) and the bouncy 'Found a Love You Couldn't Handle'.  In contrast big ballads like the gorgeous 'And I'll See You No More', 'Maybe It's Love This Time' and 'I Have You, You Have Me' were far closer to the group's famous sound and past glories, but by the same token were simply out of tune with contemporary tastes. TSOP also tapped the album for a couple of singles which returned the group to the R&B charts.


- 1980's 'Hurry Up Tis Way Again' b/w 'It Started Out' (TSOP catalog number ZS9-4789 # 18 R&B

- 1980's 'And I'll See You No More' b/w 'Driving Me Wild' (TSOP catalog number ZS9-4798) # 70 R&B


"Hurry Up This Way Again" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Driving Me Wild   (Cynthia Biggs - C. Gilbert - Ted Wortham) - 4:53

2.) And I'll See You No More   (Russell Thompkins - R. Johnson) - 3:42

3.) Found a Love You Couldn't Handle   (S. Marshall - J. Ingram - B. Ingram) - 4:36

4.) Maybe It's Love This Time  (J.B. Jefferson - R. Roebuck - C.B. Simmons) - 


(side 2)
1.) Hurry Up This Way Again   (Cynthia Biggs - Dexter Wansel) - 5:53

2.) It Started Out   (D. Brown - J. Bryant - T. Price - D. Jordan) - 4:30

3.) I Have You, You Have Me   (J. Gugliuzza) - 4:16

3.) It There Something On Your Mind   (D. Brown - T. Price - D. Jordan) - 4:15



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