The O'Jays

Soul Sounds

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Some classic early O'Jays when the Canton, OH natives were a quintet. Most of these recordings were big hits in Cleveland and certain other localities, but never achieved mass appeal. "How Does It Feel" and its flip "Crack Up Laughing" were number one on Cleveland's WJMO for nearly two months. "Lonely Drifter" and "Stand In For Love" were also huge. I witnessed a live recording of "Stand In For Love" at the now-defunct Leo's Casino in the '60s; Minit released both versions, but the studio version achieved more play. "Lipstick Traces," with Walter Williams leading (Ed Levert hated the song and refused to do it), is the best-known recording on this set; Walt sings the country-flavored offering in a straight baritone reminiscent of Johnny Cash. William Powell displays his babe-magnet falsetto on the uptempo "Working On Your Case" and the dreamy, aching "Oh How You Hurt Me" -- both were very popular in the Cleveland area. For many, these are the O'Jay sides to kill for.