The Jones Girls

On Target

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The Jones Girls weren't from Philadelphia; Shirley, Brenda, and the late Valorie Jones were natives of Detroit. But because they recorded for Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records in the late '70s and early '80s, and enjoyed their greatest commercial success at that label, some R&B fans have automatically assumed they were from Philly. In 1983, however, the Jones Girls left Philadelphia International and signed with RCA, which released On Target that year. Produced by Robert Wright and Fonzi Thornton, On Target is a stylistic departure from the Jones Girls' Philadelphia International output, and instead of sounding like a combination of the Three Degrees and the Emotions, the Jones Girls end up sounding like a combination of the Emotions, Chic, Change, and Dick Griffey's Solar Records sound (as in Shalamar, Dynasty, and Carrie Lucas). Unfortunately, On Target didn't sell; the album only made it to number 59 on Billboard's R&B albums chart, whereas 1979's The Jones Girls and 1980's At Peace with Woman both reached the Top Ten on that charts. But this is a solid outing nonetheless, and Wright and Thornton do right by the Jones Girls on infectious grooves such as "2 Win U Back," "Curious," "I Can Make a Difference," and the title song (all of which Wright and Thornton wrote). One of the few songs on this album that Wright and Thornton didn't write is Van McCoy's "Baby, I'm Yours," which was a major hit for Barbara Lewis (of "Hello Stranger" fame) in 1965; the Jones Girls successfully add a touch of funk to the tune, while staying true to its sentimental nature. For a long time, On Target was out of print. But in 2011, the Brooklyn-based Funky Town Grooves reissued it as a 60-minute CD and added three bonus tracks (including extended mixes of "2 Win U Back" and the title song), as well as two sets of liner notes (one by Thornton, the other by Brian Chin). And while On Target isn't as essential as 1979's The Jones Girls or 1980's At Peace with Woman, it is an enjoyable effort that should have done much better back in 1983.

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