The Diplomats were good singers and harmonizers, but like so many journeyman soul groups of their time, they never got hold of material that demanded to be a hit, or developed a personality on record that was impossible to ignore. They did make a good number of singles for various labels, however, and this typically well-packaged Ace/Kent compilation brings together 25 tracks they did between 1963 and 1970, a half-dozen of which were previously unreleased. It's something like a skip through the uptown soul styles of the '60s, with some of the earliest cuts still dragging one foot out of the doo wop era, and later ones boasting more polished East Coast soul production on both danceable midtempo numbers and proto-sweet soul ballads. It's all amiable enough, though not remarkable in any way. They did, however, have some associations with interesting larger figures, with Van McCoy involved in some of their early recordings on the writing and production end, as was Charlie Foxx in the late '60s. They also did an early Nickolas Ashford-Valerie Simpson composition, "Love Ain't What It Used to Be," on a 1965 single. Echoes of the Drifters, Sam Cooke, and Marvin Gaye are heard on some other tracks, which was likely part of why the Diplomats didn't get out of the minor leagues, as they didn't create a striking niche of their own.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger