The Persuaders - Made to Be Loved (2006)

The Persuaders
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I never expected to hear another new Persuaders album, so it was a distinct pleasure to open the jacket for Made to be Loved, the group's first album in a long, long time.  It was even better to hear how great their harmonies sound three decades after I'd last heard them. 

I never expected to hear another new Persuaders album, so it was a distinct pleasure to open the jacket for Made to be Loved, the group's first album in a long, long time.  It was even better to hear how great their harmonies sound three decades after I'd last heard them. 

The addition of Tony "Showtime" Riley (who is a vocal dead ringer for the Dells' Marvin Junior) has given the Persuaders a gritty, soulful lead, and he works the album's finest moments on "Don't Think I Won't Leave," the uptempo "I Don't Think So," and the disc's strong opener, "A Woman Was Made to Be Loved."  The CD also includes nice nostalgic moments with the group's cover of "You're The Best Thing," a cut they first recorded over 30 years ago (and which later became a big hit for Gladys Knight), and on "All The People," which marks the return of original member Willie B. Holland.  It is also fun hearing longtime NY disc jockey Maurice Watts as "The Voice" of the preacher in "The Wedding Song."

Made to Be Loved could safely have been trimmed from its 15 cuts to a stronger ten or eleven.  The bigger problem though, is that the material screams for a real band behind the singers, as the largely synthetic instrumentation on the disc sucks some of the warmth out the group's fine performance.

While it's not perfect, Made to Be Loved is certainly a welcome return of one of the truly underrated groups of the 70s and is hopefully the first of a series of new recordings by this longtime favorite.

By Chris Rizik

 
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