Persuaders, The


Band members                         Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-72)

- James "JB" Barnes -- vocals

- Willie "BB" Holland -- vocals 

- Douglas "Smokey" Scott -- lead vocals

- Charles Stodghill (RIP 1972) -- vocals 

 

  line up 2 (1972-73)

NEW - Tommy Lee Hill (RIP 2002) -- vocals (replaced

  James Barnes) (1972-)

- Willie "BB" Holland -- vocals 

- Douglas "Smokey" Scott -- lead vocals 

NEW - John Tobias -- vocals (replaced Charles Stodghill)

 

  line up 3 (1973-74)

NEW - Joey Coleman -- replaced (John Tobias)

- Tommy Lee Hill (RIP 2002) -- vocals

NEW - Richard Gant -- vocals (replaced Willie Holland)

- Douglas "Smokey" Scott -- lead vocals 

 

  line up 4 (1974-77)

NEW - Marcus Edward Cray -- vocals (replaced 

  Joey Colman)

- Tommy Lee Hill (RIP 2002) -- vocals

NEW - Howard Kenney -- vocals (replaced Richard Gant)

- Douglas "Smokey" Scott -- lead vocals 

 

  line up 5 (1981)

NEW - Bobby Holland -- vocals

- Douglas "Smokey" Scott -- lead vocals 

 

 

 

 

- The Duponts (Marcus Cray and Howard Keney)

- The Huns (Tommy Hill, Willie Holland and John Tobias)

- The Internationals (Bobby Holland, Douglas Scott, and

  Charles Stodghill)

- Mirage (Joey Coleman and Richard Gant)

- The Topics (Charles Stodghill)

- True Reflection (Joey Coleman)

 

 

 


 

Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Company: Win or Lose

Catalog: SD 33-387

Year: 1972

Country/State: Bronx, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: small cut out notch top seam

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4225

Price: SOLD $25.00

Cost: $6.00

 

Vocalists James "JB" Barnes, Willie "BB" Holland, and Douglas "Smokey" Scott had both recorded a number of mid-1960s sides as members of The Internationals.  When the group's record label D'ors collapsed, they found themselves caught in a nasty legal fight over rights to the name.  Managers/mentors/producers/songwriters Richard and Robert Poindexter and their partner Jackie Members suggested forming a new group which led to The Persuaders and the addition of former The Topic vocalist Charles Stodghill to the lineup.  

 

An audition with Mercury Records resulted in $300 to cut a series of three Poindexter/Members-penned demos, including 'Thin Line Between Love and Hate'.  Unfortunately, Mercury passed on the results, eventually allowing the Poindexters to buy back the master tapes.  The brothers spent the next couple of months trying to interest a major label in the demos.  They were eventually turned down by Brunswick, Capitol, Roulette, Scepter and T-Neck, before catching the ear of Atlantic's Henry Allen and Jerry Wexler.  

 

Released by Atlantic's ATCO subsidiary, the single 'Thin Line Between Love and Hate' b/w 'Thigh Spy' (ATCO catalog number 45-6822), provided the group with a top-10 pop and R&B hit.  A truly amazing song, Scott's performance perfectly captures the surprise and pain of an unfaithful husband who's apparently been shot by a pissed-off wife.  Spooky and super cool !!!  

 

 

As was standard marketing procedure, Atlantic agreed to fund a supporting album to be released on the Poindexter-controlled Win or Lose label.  The group also finally got around to hiring a fourth singer in the form of former The Huns vocalist Willie Holland. (Richard Poindexter had sung on the demos).

 

Produced by the Poindexters with backing from the band Young Gifted and Black, 1972's "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" is an overlooked soul classic. The heart rendering title track was clearly the album's highpoint (it has to be considered one of the all-time classic soul singles), but the Poindexter's and Members provided the group with several other strong compositions. The fact the group sported one of soul's most gifted vocal line-ups didn't hurt either.  Musically material such as 'Let's Get Down Together' and 'If This Is What You Call Love (I Don't Want No Part of It)' was a little more orchestrated than similar era Motown product, though it wasn't as polished as stuff coming from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.  Admittedly the set wasn't perfect in that nothing else was as stunning as the title track and there were simply too many power ballads, making up-tempo numbers such as 'You Musta Put Something In Your Love' (check out Harry Giscombe's killer bass line) and 'Thigh Spy' a welcome change of pace.  Released as a follow-on single, the heartbreak ballad 'Love's Gonna Pack Up (and Walk Out)' b/w 'You Musta Put Something In Your Love' (Win or Lose catalog number WL-220) provided the group with another top-10 R&B hit, but failed to dent the top-40 pop charts.

 

 

"Thin Line Between Love and Hate" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Thin Line Between Love and Hate   (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members -

     Robert Poindexter) - 3:16

2.) Let's Get Down Together   (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members - 

     Robert Poindexter) - 3:48

3.) Blood Brothers   (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members - 

     Robert Poindexter) - 3:27

4.) You Musta Put Something In Your Love   (Richard Poindexter - 

     Jackie Members - Robert Poindexter) - 2:42

5.) Thanks for Loving Me   (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members - 

     Robert Poindexter) - 3:50

 

(side 2)

1.) Love's Gonna Pack Up (and Walk Out)   (Richard Poindexter - 

     Jackie Members - Robert Poindexter - Ray Lewis) - 3:20

2.) If This Is What You Call Love (I Don't Want No Part of It)   

     (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members - Robert Poindexter) - 3:44

3.) Mr. Sunshine   (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members - 

     Robert Poindexter) - 3:39

4.) Thigh Spy   (Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members - Robert Poindexter -

     Ray Lewis) - 2:45

5.) Can't Go No Further and Do No Better   (Richard Poindexter - 

     Robert Poindexter - Howard Sledge) - 3:35

 

Following a national tour Barnes left.  He was quickly replaced by former The Huns vocalist Tommy Hill.  Stodghill died later in the year and was replaced by John Tobias who was himself another member of The Huns. 

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Persuaders

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 7021

Year: 1972

Country/State: Bronx, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: small cut out notch side seam

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5841

Price: $20.00

 

Continuing their partnership with producers/songwriters Bobby and Richard Poindexter, 1972's cleverly titled "The Persuaders" featured a revised line-up with founding members Willie Holland and Douglas Scott welcoming new members Lee Hill and John Tobias (replacing James Barnes and the late Charles Stodghill).  In spite of the personnel shake-up, the group's fundamental sound remained largely unchanged.  That meant exemplified by tracks like '' and '' The Persuaders' sound remained tougher and more Gospel flavored than many of their early-1970s contemporaries.  Perhaps not as instantly commercial as some of those other groups, these guys rewarded the patient listener with some of soul's best performances.

 

- One of their prettiest performances, powered by Scott's rugged lead vocal, 'Peace In the Valley of Love' had a distinctive churchy feel, but mixed it with a dynamite hook and gorgeous harmony vocals all of which made it easy to see why it was tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

- Kicked along by an insidiously catchy, rapid fire chorus ('won't you stay, won't you stay, won't you stay, won't you stay, please don't go') the upbeat 'Please Stay' would have made a dandy single.  One of my picks for standout performance.   rating: ***** stars

- Framed by flute solos, 'If You Feel Like I Do' was a pretty, but largely pedestrian ballad.  The song did serve to showcase the quartet's immaculate harmony work.   rating: *** stars

- Today the title and lyrics are hopelessly sexist, but taken with a grain of salt the mid-tempo 'Trying Girls Out' was pretty funny - especially when Hill and Scott started to vamp.  Yeah, like most of us these guys thought they were pretty hot stuff, but in reality like the rest of us they were probably a bunch of socially inept dweebs ...   rating: **** stars

- Quite different than the rest of side one, 'Is It Too Heavy For You' found the quartet actually getting modestly funky.  Okay, funky in a Gospel-ish fashion.  It may not have sounded all that promising, but this was one killer tune; especially when you figured out that they weren't singing about the burdens of life, rather were singing the praises of full figured women  ...  'more bounce to the ounce, is it too heavy for you'.   rating: ***** stars

- Side two started out with the album's standout performance - 'Bad Bold and Beautiful Girls'.  Yeah it had all of the subtlety of a brick and was just as sexist as 'Trying Girls Out', but opening with some country-flavored harmonica it opened up into the album's most commercial number. Great melody, dazzling hook, and Scott seldom sounded as good.  Bound to bring a smile to your face.   rating: ***** stars

- A breezy and easy-going ballad, 'What Is the Definition of Love' was a little clumsy in the lyric department, but made up for those shortcomings with an engaging delivery and some more wonderful group harmonies.   rating: **** stars

- 'Love Goes Good When Things Go Bad' was simply a touch to cute for my tastes.   rating: ** stars

- I never liked the David Gates and Bread version of this song, but this version is even worse.  I can admire their willingness to shake the arrangement up, but those efforts did nothing to improve what was a horrible song.  Note sure who sang the bass parts on this one, but they were a hoot.   rating: ** stars

- With one of Scott's best performances, 'You Still Love Me (After All You've Been Through)' was a beautiful ballad with a lyric that should have embarrassed every cheating husband out there.  Personal feeling the long suffering wife should have sued the as*hole for everything he owned.  That song also sported some nice Steve Cropper-styled lead guitar.

 

- The album also spun off a pair of singles:

 

       

 

- 1972's 'Peace In the Valley of Love' b/w 'What Is the Definition of Love' (Win or Lose catalog number WL-225) # 21 R&B

- 1973's 'Bad Bold and Beautiful Girls' b/w 'Please Stay' (ATCO catalog number 45-6919)

 

While the album lacked a devastating knockout punch like the earlier 'Thin Line', song-for-song it was actually stronger than the debut.  Well worth looking for since you can still get a copy at a reasonable price.

 

"The Persuaders" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Peace In the Valley of Love   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 3:51

2.) Please Stay   (Bob Hillard - Burt Bacharach) - 3:40

3.) If You Feel Like I Do   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 6:05

4.) Trying Girls Out   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 4:07

5.) Is It Too Heavy For You   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 2:44

 

(side 2)

1.) Bad Bold and Beautiful Girls   (Bobby Poindexter - Richard Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 4:10

2.) What Is the Definition of Love   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 2:47

3.) Love Goes Good When Things Go Bad   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 2:41

4.) I Want To Make It With You   (D. Hines - W. Weaver - D. Liebman) - 4:35

5.) You Still Love Me (After All You've Been Through)   (Bobby Poindexter - Jackie Members) - 5:25

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD-7046

Year: 1974

Country/State: Bronx, New York

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: was sealed, opened and played once

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4331

Price: $15.00

Cost: $6.00

 

 

Perhaps because it was released late in their recording career, 1974's "Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" is widely dismissed by critics.  Produced by Phil Hurtt and Tony Bell (who also wrote the majority of the nine tracks), that's unfortunate since it's one of the group's most consistent and enjoyable releases.  Recorded in the wake of yet another personnel shake up; front men Thomas Hill and Douglas Scott were joined by Joey Coleman and Richard Gant (replacing Willie Holland and John Tobias).  Heavy on heartfelt ballads the set isn't a major change in direction, but the performances are uniformly good -  Scott easily ranks with the most talented lead singers in mid-1970s soul. Highlights included the stark 'We're Just Trying To Make It' (clocking in at over eight minutes it's one of the earliest 'extended' soul tracks we're aware of), their gritty cover of 'Some Guys Have All the Luck' (their version beats Rod Stewart's subsequent cover into the ground) and the atypical up tempo number 'Hold On (Just a Little But Longer)'.  Commercially the set did okay, spinning off three top-40 R&B/pop hits via the singles:

 

- 1973's 'Some Guys Have All the Luck b/w 'Love Attack' (ATCO catalog number 45-6943)

- 1974's 'Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me' b/w 'That's the Way She Is' (ATCO catalog number 45-6956)

- 1974's ' All Strung Out On You' b/w 'Once In a Lifetime Thing' (ATCO catalog number 45-6964)

 

"Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) We're Just Trying To Make It   (Phil Hurtt - Anthony Bell) - 8:25

2.) Someone's Got To Do Something   (Phil Hurtt - Anthony Bell) - 3:41

3.) Some Guys Have All the Luck   (J. Fortgang) - 3:22

4.) Once In a Lifetime Thing   (Jim Weatherly) - 3:45

 

(side 2)

1.) Hold On (Just a Little But Longer)   (Phil Hurtt - Berry - Tony Hill - Brown) - 3:15

2.) Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me   (Jim Weatherly) - 4:55

3.) That's the Way She Is   (Phil Hurtt - Anthony Bell) - 3:25

4.) All Strung Out On You   (Leroy Butler) - 3:42

5.) Stay with Me   (Phil Hurtt - Anthony Bell) - 2:45

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  It's All About Love

Company: Calla

Catalog: CAS 1238

Year: 1976

Country/State: Bronx, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5841

Price: $10.00

 

1976 saw The Persuaders signed to Calla Records. Once again the line up had morphed, this time mainstay Douglas Scott supported by Marcus Edward Cray, Tommy Lee Hill, and Howard Kenney.  Teaming the quartet with Norman Harris and company was clearly intended as an attempt to update and commercialize their sound, though the overall results were mixed.  Co-produced by Robert Curington and Harris, "It's All About Love"     

 

Elsewhere, given they were penned by former producers Bobby and Richard Poindexter, 'Sure Shot - a/k/a - Gamblin' On a Sure Shot' and 'Tryin' To Love Two Women' may have been old material resurrected for the album.  

 

- Showcasing Douglas Scott's slightly raspy lead vocals, 'It's Love' was a breezy, mid-tempo number.  Lyrically there wasn't a great deal to the track - Scott endless repeating 'it's love' while the backing singers Cray, Hill, and Kenney cooed the same words over and over and over ...   rating: ** stars

- 'Count the Ways' found the group trying on a light disco rhythm with decent results.  Complete with extended Scott vamp (showcasing some nice jazzy lead guitar from Harris), imagine something Teddy Pendergast and the Blue Notes might have released around the same time and you'd be in the right aural ballpark.   rating: **** stars

- A nice showcase for Scott's rugged voice and the group's angelic harmony vocals, 'I Need Love' was a nice old school ballad.  The title track chorus was exceptionally catchy.  Careful as you're liable to be humming it all day.  It would have been even better without the lush backing arrangement.  Easy to see why Calla tapped it as the leadoff single.   rating: **** stars

- The Persuaders seldom recorded material that actually rocked, but 'The Quickest Way Out' was one of those exceptions.  Very impressive and one of the album highlights.  This one was tapped as the LP's second single.   rating: **** stars

- 'Who Will It Be Tonight' was another old school ballad.  Harris' guitar was quite prominent on the track which also benefited from the subdued backing arrangement - thankfully no strings this time around.   rating: **** stars

- One of two tracks penned by former producer Bobby Poindexter and Jackie Masters Poindexter, 'Sure Shot - a/k/a - Gamblin' On a Sure Shot' was clearly meant as a dance track.  It was cute (the hyper-speed backing vocals were hysterical), but also sounded somewhat formulaic.   rating: *** stars

- With a slinky and urgent rhythm, 'Hey Sister I'm Your Brother - a/k/a - She's My Sister' found the group taking an atypical stab at social commentary.  Very different for the group, but quite attractive.  One of the album highlights.   rating: ***** stars

- The other Poindexter contribution, with it's up tempo dance groove, 'Tryin' To Love Two Women' sounded very much like a mid-1970s Philadelphia International product.  The lyrics were horribly sexist, but you had to smile at the poor protagonists' problems.   rating: *** stars

- Apparently included in order to pad out the album's playing time, the instrumental version of 'The Quickest Way Out' was needless.  Mindless disco madness.  Stick with the vocal version.   rating: * star

 

A pair of singles were also released from the LP:

 

    

- 1976's 'I Need Love' b/w 'Sure Shot - a/k/a - Gamblin' On a Sure Shot' (Calla catalog number ZS8 3006)

- 1976's 'The Quickest Way Out' b/w 'Tryin' To Love Two Women' (Calla catalog number ZS8 3007)

 

Clearly not their best album, but for a late inning release it wasn't half bad.  By my count over half of the tracks were worth hearing.  Interestingly, there were two versions of the LP - same track listing, but different catalog numbers and cover art.  I'm guessing that this may have been the second version based on the fact the other one was somewhat risqué.  Anyhow, here's the somewhat disturbing alternate cover:

 

Calla catalog number PZ-34802

 

"It's All About Love" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It's Love   (V. Drayton - B. Turner - J. Bellman - J. AIken) - 3:00

2.) Count the Ways   (A. Felder - Norman Harris - Robert Curington) - 5:02

3.) I Need Love   (A. Felder - Norman Harris - Robert Curington) - 4:18

4.) The Quickest Way Out (Vocals)   (V. Drayton - B. Turner - J. Bellman - J. AIken) - 4:14

5.) Who Will It Be Tonight   (A. Felder - Norman Harris - Robert Curington) - 3:05

 

(side 2)

1.) Sure Shot - a/k/a - Gamblin' On a Sure Shot   (Bobby Poindexter -  J.M. Poindexter - V. Ballard) - 3:49

2.) Hey Sister I'm Your Brother - a/k/a - She's My Sister   (Rudy Love) - 5:13

3.) Tryin' To Love Two Women   (Richard Poindexter - Bobby Poindexter) - 5:22

4.) The Quickest Way Out (instrumental)   (V. Drayton - B. Turner - J. Bellman - J. AIken) - 3:52

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 

 

With an assist from Bobby Holland, Douglas Scott briefly reactivated The Persuaders nameplate in the early 1980s.  As far as I know the rejuvenated group (credited as The Persuaders Featuring Douglas Scott), only managed to release one single though it was released in standard 7" and 12" formats:

 

 

- 1981's 'Another Time, Another Place' b/w 'I'm So Glad I Got You' (Brunswick catalog number B 55553) 

- 1981's 'Another Time, Another Place' b/w 'I'm So Glad I Got You' (Brunswick catalog number D 215)   12" format

 

 

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