The Osmonds

Phase III

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The Osmonds' third album scarcely got a fair throw of the dice, being buried almost immediately by the success of "Crazy Horses," which itself demanded such a swift long-playing follow-up that Phase III scarcely had time to grab a gold disc before it was trampled out of sight. In truth, it did not deserve such a fate. The first album to be cut once the brothers arrived in a position of commercial dominance, with the opening "Down by the Lazy River" serving up their biggest hit yet, Phase III retains its predecessors' penchant for light and breezy tunesmithery, but at last learns to appreciate the different characters that made up the band, and the fans who had raised each of the brothers up onto his own individual dais. With the album partially recorded at Muscle Shoals, and certainly benefiting from the surroundings, "A Taste of Rhythm and Blues" at last captures the group's on-stage penchant for good-time rock & rolling, even if the arrangement is a little sweeter than it ought to be. But Joe South's "Yo-Yo" gets a champion workout, while the ballads all tug at the kind of adolescent heartstrings that the rival Jackson 5 would never truly hang onto. The Osmonds were already a major attraction when this album was released -- one more serious hit and they would become the biggest thing on 14 legs.

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