The Ebonys


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Though it has a different title, this CD is essentially an expanded reissue of the Ebonys' 1973 self-titled debut album. It includes all nine of the tracks from that LP, adding four early-'70s cuts from 45s, including the single version of their biggest hit, "It's Forever." It also comes close to being a best-of, since it has all five of their R&B chart hits. The Ebonys were among the less distinctive acts in the Philadelphia International stable, and these recordings are more notable for the production (and frequent songwriting) of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff than they are for the talents of the group itself. Still, it's a representative slice of well-produced early-'70s Philadelphia soul. It mixes, as the genre itself did, luscious ballads ("It's Forever," "You're the Reason Why"), sexy dance-soul ("Hook Up and Get Down," "Sexy Ways"), and more bittersweet material with a hint of social consciousness ("Life in the Country"). The disc includes historical liner notes.