The Manhattans – 1970 – With These Hands
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The Manhattans were one of those classic R&B vocal groups who manage to achieve incredible career longevity by adapting their style to fit changing times. Formed in the ’60s as a doo wop-influenced R&B quintet, the Manhattans reinvented themselves as sweet smooth soul balladeers during the ’70s. In doing so, they somehow overcame the death of lead singer George Smith, and with new frontman Gerald Alston became more popular than they’d ever been, landing an across-the-board number one hit in 1976 with “Kiss and Say Goodbye“. Influenced by : The Moonglows, the Dells, the Flamingos, Sam Cooke and Johnnie Taylor, they also influenced groups like Boyz II Men.
The Manhattans recorded two LP’s for Deluxe, a subsidiary of Starday-King of Nashville, between their Carnival and Columbia recordings.
• [With These Hands] (Deluxe, 1970, prod. Buddy Scott) was George Smith‘s last LP with the group, and includes such uncharacteristic material as “Georgia on My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”.
• [A Million to One] (Deluxe, 1972, prod. Various) was the first LP with Alston. “One Life to Live,” from this LP, was one of their best.
This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Deluxe Records LP including covers
A1 Can’t Take My Eyes Off You 3:35
A2 Loneliness 2:55
A3 By The Time I Get To Phoenix 3:05
A4 Straight From My Heart 2:46
A5 It’s Gonne Take A Lot To Bring Me Back 2:59
B1 If My Heart Could Speak 3:52
B2 With These Hands 4:05
B3 Georgia On My Mind 2:55
B4 Give Him Up 2:37
B5 People Get Ready 2:36
Life after Carnival Records finds the Manhattans recording for the Deluxe label, where they cut some charmers. George “Smitty” Smith had polished his God-given, captivating, crying tenor into an instrument that ranked with the greats. With These Hands is the closest the Manhattans came to recording an album of standards or pop material. The album’s ten songs consist of five standards and five cold-blooded originals. You can’t help but feel the aching pain in “It’s Gonna Take a Lot to Bring Me Back“, a minor R&B hit that had major potential; the slow weeper oozes soul. “Give Him Up” displays the quintet’s lovely uptempo harmony; the shuffler unfortunately got lost as a B-side. The tear jerking “If My Heart Could Speak” is a slow, tenderly sung ballad and one of their best. Winnie Lovett, Kenny Kelly, Ernest Bivens and Richard Taylor provides splendid backing to Smitty’s lead on “People Get Ready“, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You“, “Georgia on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and the title track, all ably arranged by Chico O’Farrill. (Andrew Hamilton – AMG)
Five pairs of white gloves appear in the spotlite, accompanied an orchestra in a latin-soulful groove. Five voices in perfect harmony glide into “Can’t take my eyes of you” and you’ve met the fantastic Manhattans. Smitty, Blue, Dip, Kenny and Richie – five groovy multi-talented people.
Listen to their change of mood from “Georgia“, with that haunting harmonica and violin background to “Loneliness” which is a soulful as it wants to be. Compare to tender reading of “If my heart could speak” to the moving rendition of “With these hands“. Follow Blue Lovett as he moans his way to “Phoenix“.
Yes, these are the Manhattans as big as life and as full of excitement as the big town that is their namesake.