Wednesday, April 13, 2011

318 Backstabbers- look out behind you.



Album: Backstabbers
Artist: The Ojays
Year: 1972
Genre: Soul

Tracks

  1. When the World's at Peace
  2. Back Stabbers
  3. Who Am I
  4. (They Call Me) Mr. Lucky
  5. Time to Get Down
  6. 992 Arguments
  7. Listen to the Clock on the Wall
  8. Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kind of People
  9. Sunshine
  10. Love Train

Well this is unfortunate. At 318 I have to review an album by the OJays so step one is to make a mental note to avoid cheap OJ Simpson jokes and references to knife murder. And then I discover the album is called Backstabbers. Bugger. The chances of me resisting that joke about Marilyn Manson joining them to form a Killers cover band is looking fairly slim.

The O’Jays are a soul group not unlike the Temptations except they never ventured so far from the standard soul path that the Temps did. The Ojays stayed fairly true to the standard formula of a bunch of black guys in bright suits crooning in harmony into a microphone. Their music is all about how great it would be if we could love each other more and hurt each other less and generally get along a lot better and not killing each other as much or having wars and things. It’s an easy formula but in the hands of bands like the Ojays it works.

The mystery to me is why The Temptations had a best of compilation in the countdown while the O’Jays have this album. There are loads of O’Jays compilations that include the greatest moments from Backstabbers along with their other hits. I can only assume that the huge number of compilation cash-ins worked against the OJays who don’t have a definitive compilation for the Rolling Stone voters to get behind.

The finest moment from Backstabbers comes at the end with Love Train a great song about... being nice and not killing each other. Lyrically it’s themes have already been covered during the rest of the album but musically it’s the finest moment and the OJays best song. It’s got a sing-along feel and putting it at the end of the album means you’ll be singing it for the rest of the day. The title track was also a hit single but hasn’t dated nearly as well.

Listened to from start to finish Backstabbers is a lot of soaring strings and soulful instrumentation with two definite highpoints. It’s not an unpleasant listen but an OJay’s best of would have all the highlights with none of the in between lows.

Influenced by: The Temptations
Influenced: Orange juice cravings

Highlight: Love Train
Lowlight: Who am I

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote:  "this Album may be the best Recording EVER (Dorati's version of the Nutcracker is its only rival)."

-That's a strange comparison. I had to google it but I assume the reviewer is refering to Hungarian Conductor Antal Dorati's recordings of the Minnesota symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. How wild is that for a point of comparison?

So do you get behind the Ojay's music or would you rather get behind them with a blade of some kind? Let me know below.

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