The Futures

The Futures

    Another of a seemingly endless string of quality soul groups to come out of Philadelphia in the late 60s and early 70s, the Futures never rose to the upper echelon of Soul Music artists, but nonetheless created a number of fine releases.

    Consisting of Kenny Crew, James King, John King, Harry McGilberry and Frank Washington, the Futures formed in Philly in the late 60s and hooked up with hitmakers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, signing with Gamble Records in 1971. They first hit the charts in 1973 with "Love Is Here," a wonderful soul ballad that made it halfway up the charts (the song was later remade in fine fashion by the Dramatics). However, trouble at Gamble Records led the Futures to an ill-fated stay at Buddah before returning to Gamble's Philadelphia International Records in 1978.

    The group's 1979 PIR debut, Past Present and the Futures, was a prototypical Gamble and Huff project, filled with excellent arrangements and generally strong material. One song from the disc, "Party Time Man," hit the charts, and led to the follow up album, The Greetings of Peace, which featured their smooth remake of the 50's classic "Silhouettes," which became a sought-after cut for years thereafter. 

    While the Futures broke up in the early 80s, two of their members went on to more notable positions. McGilberry became the bass singer for the Temptations in 1996, leaving a half-decade later due to health problems. Washington joined the Delfonics, and remained in that group for several years before becoming the lead singer for the Spinners in 2002, following the illness of John Edwards.

    By Chris Rizik