The O'Jays

Family Reunion

Composed by Kenny Gamble / Leon Huff / M. Christian

Song Review by

Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff were two of the more prolific and producer/writers of the '70s. The O'Jays were often their best messengers when it came to social issues. Family Reunion may be one of the best examples of the merging of gorgeous music and lyrics of import. The views here are aggressively traditional. The father was the worker and provider while the mother did the cooking, sewing, and helped the father. Gamble & Huff didn't care how much this didn't jibe with the concurrent, rapidly changing society and the eroding of the nuclear familiar structure. What helped to make this all palpable was the harmonies of the O'Jays and the emotive lead from Eddie Levert. Family Reunion boasts a classic Philly sound courtesy of producer Norman Harris. While Gamble & Huff's direction often displayed their devotion to the nation of Islam, the album cover displayed a painting of the O'Jays with children and adults of every nationality imaginable. In fact, the song has a passage about how we are all connected and related, all races of people really are. This song was featured in John Singleton's 1993 film Poetic Justice. Although it was played during a family gathering, strangely enough, none of the characters were related to the participants. But they were invited in a warm, communal sense. This song brings those sentiments to the fore as well.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Box Set Series 1972 Legacy / Legacy Recordings / Philadelphia International / Sony Music Entertainment 6:56
Family Reunion 1975 Edsel 6:56
Collectors' Items 1977 Philadelphia International/EMI 6:54
Let Me Make Love to You 1995 Legacy 6:55
Pledging My Love 1996
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 6:54
Super Hits 1998 Sony Music Distribution
Significant Singles 1998 Westside Records
Smooth Love 1999 American Recordings / A M W Music 6:54
The Ultimate O'Jays 2001 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 6:54
Love Songs [Epic/Legacy] 2003 Legacy / Epic/Legacy 6:55
The Essential O'Jays 2005 Legacy / SMG 6:57
Madea's Family Reunion 2006
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Motown / Tyler Perry, Inc. / Universal 6:54
Love Train: The Best of the O'Jays [2-CD] 2006 Music Deluxe (UK) / Demon Deluxe / Music Club Records 6:56
Beautiful Ballads 2006 Epic/Legacy 6:55
Triple Feature 2009 Sony BMG / Custom Marketing Group 6:54
Original Album Classics, Vol. 1 2012 Legacy
Lee Daniels' The Butler 2013
Original Soundtrack
Verve 6:55
Original Album Classics, Vol. 2 2014 Legacy 6:54
blue highlight denotes editor's pick