Ray, Goodman & Brown – 1979 – Ray, Goodman & Brown
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The “sweet” soul trio of Harry Ray, Al Goodman, and Billy Brown scored several hits for All Platinum/Stang Records in the early ’70s as the Moments before they became Ray, Goodman & Brown in 1978. They moved to Polygram, where their poignant ballad “Special Lady” topped the R&B charts in 1979 and reached number five pop. They remained on Polydor until 1981, getting one more Top 20 hit with “Inside of You” in 1980. They moved to Panoramic, then on to EMI, where they got their last Top Ten single in 1986, “Take It to the Limit“. They also did background vocals for Sarah Dash on her 1988 LP You’re All I Need.
By 1979, the group had had a total of 27 R&B chart hits and decided to leave Stang, signing with the larger Polydor Records label. A legal dispute arose, barring them from using “The Moments” on their new label, so they renamed the group with their last names: Ray, Goodman & Brown.
The first single under their new name, “Special Lady“, became one of their biggest hits, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and #5 on the pop chart in early 1980. The B-side featured “Déjà Vu”, with lyrics by Bob Natiello and music by Lou Toby. They followed up with more hits, including “Inside Of You” (#14 R&B, 1980).
In 1982, following the release of their fourth (and final) Polydor album, Ray left to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Kevin “Ray” Owens, a backing vocalist for Luther Vandross. Ray re-joined Sylvia and Joe Robinson at their new venture (Sugar Hill Records), but after one album and a minor hit, “Sweet Baby,” he rejoined Goodman and Brown in 1983 for their comeback on EMI with the ballad “Take It To the Limit” (which put them back on the R&B charts at #8 in 1987). In 1991, Harold “Eban” Brown, former vocalist for The Delfonics, became the lead vocalist for Ray, Goodman & Brown. He stayed for two and a half years before joining The Manhattans and became lead vocalist for The Stylistics in 2000.
Ray suffered a fatal stroke in 1992 and was again replaced in the group by Kevin “Ray” Owens. Occasionally solo artist Greg Willis joined Ray, Goodman and Brown in performances (and later on records), but never became a full-time member. Vocalist Wade “Silky” Elliott also did a stint, before signing a solo contract with CBS Records during the 1990s. With Owens’ return, the trio continued to perform and tour as Ray, Goodman & Brown. They released two albums in 2002 and 2003: one with new material, and the other featuring re-workings of soul songs by other male vocal groups. These albums reunited them with former All-Platinum producer George Kerr. In one of their public appearances, they teamed with Gerald Alston to perform The Manhattans’ hit “Kiss And Say Goodbye”. They sang backup vocals for Alicia Keys song “You Don’t Know My Name,” which was a #1 soul/R&B song in 2003. As of 2008 Owens, Goodman and Brown continued to record together and tour (sometimes with vocalist Larry “Ice” Winfree), performing hits from both the Moments and Ray, Goodman and Brown. On July 26, 2010 Goodman died at the age of 67. In 2012, Harold “Eban” Brown rejoined remaining original member Billy Brown to re-record The Moments Greatest Hits – Volume 1. It was released in April 2014 on the Universal Music Group label – featuring the vocals of Harold “Eban” Brown and Billy Brown only. As of 2014, Winfree was officially welcomed into the group as the replacement for Goodman, with Owens and Brown, bringing the group back to its regular trio status.