The Manhattans – The Manhattans Sing For You And Yours (1968)

The Manhattans – The Manhattans Sing For You And Yours
Reissue CD on Collectables (COL-CD-5136)
Original release Carnaval Records CLPS 202

The Manhattans were a soul vocal group from New Jersey who stayed true to that format through thick and thin, while incorporating new elements into their sound.  Sometimes those elements clashed – for example, some tracks on this collection feature utterly unnecessary congas, played rather poorly. They get props from me for keeping their visuals on point: matching suits, maybe some white gloves (as in this cover photo), coordinated dance moves on stage.  They could have easily decked themselves out in paisley and big floppy hats and gotten away with it, but they didn’t.  And while they might not have had the chart success of peers like The Impressions, The Spinners, or The Dells, they stuck around fighting the good fight in a tradition that spans The Ink Spots to Boyz II Men.  This 1968 long-player, “The Manhattans Sing For You and Yours,” appears to be an attempt for their first label, New Jersey’s Carnival Records, to cash one last paycheck as they lost the group to Deluxe Records, based out of Cincinnati (but with Jersey roots).  Although not really presented as a ‘greatest hits’, a look at the track list shows that it draws from singles they had put out on Carnival all the way back to when they started there on 1964 up through 1967.  They did not release any singles in 68 as far as I can tell.  Sartorial consistency aside, a lot was changing in music between 64 and 68, and that accounts for the mildly jarring shifts in production choices if you listen to this from start to finish.  And speaking of The Impression, Curtis Mayfield probably could have successfully sued them for the tune “Sweet Little Girl” (1966) if he had been so inclined, as it’s basically a rewrite of “People Get Ready” (1965) with new, banal lyrics. But to accentuate the positive, one of my favorites here is “Alone On New Year’s Eve”, because I hate New Year’s Eve.  Seriously, fuck that holiday.  I’ve been known to spend it in the dark with a fifth of whiskey and a stack of Leonard Cohen albums.  “Alone On New Year’s Eve” was the B-side to a similarly blue-tinged but inferior holiday tune “It’s That Time Of The Year”, also featured here.

The fact that Carnival only put out one other LP for The Manhattans back in 1965 might have had some bearing on why they left the label, which folded a few years later.  Their move to Deluxe was followed by the death of lead singer ‘Smitty’ Smith from a brain tumor in 1970.  Almost as tragic, the art department at Deluxe issued their first LP with an image of a woman being groped by the Hamburger Helper glove and his evil twin (as evidenced in the images below)  With those kind of creepy vibes, it’s no wonder they leapt at the chance to since with Columbia in 1973 and didn’t look back.

1. I Call It Love (02:17)
2. I Bet’cha (Couldn’t Love Me) (02:44)
3. Sweet Little Girl (02:47)
4. There Goes A Fool (02:32)
5. Alone On New Years Eve (03:10)
6. All I Need Is Your Love (03:02)
7. I Wanna Be (Your Everything) (02:43)
8. When We’re Made As One (03:35)
9. Call Somebody Please (02:35)
10. For The Very First Time (02:24)
11. It’s That Time Of The Year (03:09)
12. Baby I’m Sorry (02:42)

Total length: 33:40

More information:

CD release estimated at 1990 because of the date given for the vinyl reissues on Collectables

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  1. Antonnio Liberio de Azevedo

    A senha: vibrações, para descompactar, esta incoreta

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