The Ballads ‎- 1969 – The Gift Of Love

Venture label formed in late 1967 by MGM as an outlet for their soul acts. The label was run by former Motown A&R director William “Mickey” Stevenson with help from many other Motown exiles – the company was based in Los Angeles.

The Ballads – after their Venture output failed to sell MGM dropped them from their roster – the group returned home and continued to issue the occasional single on the local Boola-Boola label where started their career.

A1 God Bless Our Love 2:57
A2 You’Re The One 2:59
A3 Just A Little Misunderstanding 2:33
A4 I Love You, Yeah 3:13
A5 Forever 2:44
A6 Wish I Knew 2:31
B1 The Gift Of Love 2:47
B2 I’m Nothing Without Your Love 2:30
B3 My Baby Know How To Love Her Man 3:00
B4 Weakspot 2:59
B5 Hey Diddle Diddle 2:39
B6 Goodnight My Love 2:45

By George O’Leary

A legitimate member of the One-Hit Wonder category are the Oakland-based vocal group The Ballads (Nathanial Ramerson, Lesley Palmer, Rico Thompson and John Palmer) whose one claim to national fame came in July-August 1968 when God Bless Our Love made it to # 8 R&B and # 65 Billboard Pop Hot 100 b/w My Baby Knows How To Love Her Man on Venture 615. That was a short-lived label started by MGM as a dedicated Soul outlet run for them in Los Angeles by former Motown A&R Director William “Mickey” Stevenson.

The only other Venture releases of which I am aware are the non-charting I Love You, Yeah b/w You’re The One (Venture 625 in Oct 1968), Goodnight My Love b/w Hey Diddle Diddle (Venture 630 in Nov 1968) and I Wish I Knew b/w The Gift Of Love (Venture 637 in Dec 1968). The good news is, all 8 sides are in the 21-track CD.

Another interesting side is I Can’t See Your Love (For The Tears In My Eyes) which is a song they recorded in late 1965 for the well-named Wee Records (Wee 106) and which was picked up and re-released as Vee-Jay 714 b/w an instrumental rendition of the same song. I have no idea when and where they recorded the other 12 tracks (19 and 20 were previously unreleased) and whether any come from their earliest efforts for some tiny local operation called Boola Boola Records or later releases for such as Kimberley, Music City and Balja (?).

There apparently was another CD covering their music titled The Ballads Are Coming, but again I know nothing about it other than the fact it was released as there are references to it elsewhere. It may, indeed, even be available through Amazon but good luck trying to find it since using that title as a search will turn up hundreds upon hundreds of listings for just about every artist under the sun that had something released with the word “ballads” in the title! Even this one took some digging to find. That glitch you can trace to Amazon’s November 2012 deletion of “Advanced Search” which used to enable you to enter the title of a song or artist and get hits on all items containing them. Not any more and so I’m not surprised something like this has never been previously reviewed.

Get it here