The Dynamics

What a Shame

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Managed by Ted White, Aretha Franklin's husband (at the time), the Dynamics released a slew of singles and two albums but never achieved any sustained chart action; they're visually unknown to most, even to those who know their recordings. "What a Shame," the title track, is arguably their best single, a sweet falsetto sings the woeful tale in a mournful voice usually associated with wakes and funerals. Like everything else on the album, it was written and produced by the now-deceased Ronnie Shannon, an eccentric songwriter from Detroit who gained fame writing hits like "Baby, I Love You" for Aretha. "Woe Is Me" paves the same mournful path, as does "You'll Never Find a Man Like Me." Shannon speeds it up on "Shucks I Love You," a happy-in-love tune carried by an airy falsetto lead. Brass is prominent on "Funky Key," a groove daddy that probably worked better live; the lead is rough, countering the melodic and smooth backing vocals. The Dynamics had at least three lead singers and used them all. "Count Your Chips" is a slow beauty, typical of sounds emanating from Philly, yet it failed to sell despite a sugary lead vocal. Other notables include "Voyage Thru the Mind" and "Let Me Be Your Friend."

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