The Montclairs

Make Up for Lost Time: The Paula Recordings 1971-1974

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Make Up for Lost Time: The Paula Recordings 1971 brings together the Montclairs one album, Dreaming Out of Season, and numerous singles and outtakes recorded between 1972 and 1974 for the Paula label. Based around the lead vocal and dramatic songwriting of Phil Perry, the Montclairs were part of an early-'70s renaissance for vocal groups that saw peers like the Spinners and the Chi-Lites bring sweet soul harmony to the top of the charts. While the Montclairs never achieved commercial success on that level, they did have two Top 40 singles on the Billboard R&B chart in 1972: the sweet falsetto-led "Dreaming Out of Season," and its follow-up -- a swallow-your-pride affair -- "Beggin' Is Hard to Do." The real treasure of their album, however, is the eight-minute epic, "Do I Stand a Chance?" and its hypnotic vocal patterns and lush, constantly building strings. The critical and commercial disinterest in the Dreaming Out of Season album ultimately led to the demise of the group, but not before they released a few more singles and began work on an unfinished follow-up album. These tracks are included here, showing that the group was capable of the occasional up-tempo number like the pop-soul of "Dawn of My Life," the Bobby Patterson-penned "I Need You More Than Ever," and the funky "Hung Up on Your Love." More often the material focuses on attempts, with varying degrees of success, to create the hit ballads that got them attention in the first place. The awkward metaphors of "Horse With Wings" might only be for diehard fans, but anyone hungry for a smooth soul treat will find the skillfully penned "Ease the Pain" more than satisfying, and well worth the time.

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