In the '70s, Philadelphia was one of America's great cities for soul music, and few Philly acts scored more and better hits than the O'Jays. Formed in Ohio in 1958, the O'Jays recorded for a variety of small labels with limited success until they partnered with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, a pair of producers based in Philadelphia whose bright, layered sound, full of horns, strings, and percussion, was a perfect match for the O'Jays' vocal blend. The group relocated to the City of Brotherly Love and signed with Philadelphia International Records, where they enjoyed a string of hits that ranged from romantic numbers like "Used to Be My Girl" and "Now That We Found Love" to gritty, street-level anthems like "Back Stabbers" and "For the Love of Money," peaking with a combination of topicality and positivity in "Love Train." The Very Best of the O'Jays is a 21-song anthology that includes the O'Jays' best-known songs from their tenure with Philadelphia International, and captures their trademark sound full of great grooves and passionate vocals.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming