The O’Jays – 1973 – Ship Ahoy

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An absolute masterpiece and a peak in 70’s soul-music. “For The love Of Money” is a definite track of the period and a good example of how ambitious the architects behind the so-called Philly Sound actually were. The title track is a hair-rasising account of the ships that brought over the slaves from West Africa and it is definitely another carer high.

One of the most important albums of its era.

That’s an undeniable Philly classic! The record was the third that the band cut for the Philly International label — but it was really the first one that pushed their strong righteous soul agenda, sort of a mix of message-oriented lyrics and heavy soul (ala The Temptations), fused with the warmer more sophisticated styles of the Philly sound.

 

Tracks

A1 Put Your Hands Together (4:06)
A2 Ship Ahoy (9:39)
A3 This Air I Breathe (3:52)
A4 You Got Your Hooks in Me (5:34)
B1For the Love of Money (7:19)
B2 Now That We Found Love (4:41)
B3Don’t Call Me Brother (8:57)
B4 People Keep Tellin’ Me (4.00)

 

The Reviews

1

The “other” O’Jays album masterpiece, Ship Ahoy combined shattering message tracks and stunning love songs in a fashion matched only by Curtis Mayfield’s finest material. From the album cover showing a slave ship to the memorable title song and incredible “For the Love of Money,” Gamble and Huff addressed every social ill from envy to racism and greed. Eddie Levert’s leads were consistently magnificent, as were the harmonies, production and arrangements. “Put Your Hands Together” and “You Got Your Hooks In Me” would be good album cuts, but on Ship Ahoy they were merely icing on the cake.

 

2

This album has always been a favorite of mine. Not only have i always dug&respected the O’Jays but this album really hits home.it deals with slavery.it’s a very underrated classic.while other albums over the same time period get all kinds of respect&props this album gets forgotten way to often.& i have to wonder is it because of the honesty that it deals with?put your hands together is a very uptempo song.the O’Jays together with the great genius producer team of Gamble&Huff make this ground breaking classic.ship ahoy takes us all back to the slave ships.the air i breathe is very deep.what makes this album so tight is that the music is danceable but you still can really listen to the message.i always respect albums that are saying something&this one certainly does.

 

3

Probably the group’s high point. Two more Top Ten hits: “Put Your Hands Together” is another Four Tops imitation, but “For The Love Of Money” is phenomenal funk, with compelling group vocals and an unforgettable phased bass line played by Anthony Jackson. Then there’s the anthem “Now That We’ve Found Love,” which was later recorded by Martha Reeves and still later became a smash hit for Heavy D. And though they’re still copying Norm Whitfield’s epic production style (in turn copied from Isaac Hayes), Gamble and Huff tackle an overlooked subject with the title track, a sound effect-laden meditation on the Middle Passage which brought Africans to the New World – a powerful if low-key mood piece that puts its ten-minute running time to good use. On the other hand, the nine minutes allotted to the bluesy “Don’t Call Me Brother” is just excessive. Even the negligible tunes have nice touches: “People Keep Tellin’ Me” has a propulsive bass line; the soulful “You Got Your Hooks In Me” is spiced with blues guitar licks. Mostly arranged by Bobby Martin; Norman Harris arranged two tracks and Lenny Pakula arranged the Latin-tinged “This Air I Breathe.”

 

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8 Comments
  • MsUnique98
    Posted at 16:48h, 15 May 2008 Reply

    Nikos,

    Thanks for the great old-skool music! 🙂

  • MsMerising
    Posted at 05:57h, 10 August 2008 Reply

    I am about to start reading “A House On Fire: The Rise & Fall of Philadelphia Soul” by John A. Jackson so I am re-discovering old favorites. Thanks Nikos!

  • Chris
    Posted at 04:02h, 13 November 2008 Reply

    O’Jays!!! Come on! What else do you guys have in your bag of tricks??? Thanks

  • Chris
    Posted at 04:03h, 13 November 2008 Reply

    I do like some O’Jays!!! I know this is my second post, but I don’t care.

  • FLAVIOLA
    Posted at 00:49h, 19 April 2009 Reply

    THESE GUYS COULD ROCK! BIG THANX

  • kacee brown
    Posted at 04:30h, 16 February 2010 Reply

    Classic Philly- Wonder can u get Family Reunion Album. Thank you

  • SPC
    Posted at 02:23h, 20 February 2010 Reply

    Beautiful – this is definitely my favourite version of ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’. The title track and ‘Love Of Money’ are fantastic as well. Thanks

  • Dave
    Posted at 04:59h, 18 July 2011 Reply

    Thanks, Nikos. After listening to O’jays & Shirley Brown back to back, I feel like I am in hog-heaven.

    I agree with you & the other reviewers that ‘Ship Ahoy’ is a masterpiece, period. It is still not dated & that is a testament to its power. Thanks a lot.

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