Dedicated to You
Long before they stormed the R&B and pop charts with ‘70s era hits like “Shining Star” and “Kiss and Say Goodbye” the Jersey-based Manhattans were one of the finest soul vocal groups on the East coast, crafting minor hits in the harmony-drenched style of Midwestern contemporaries like the Miracles and the Impressions. Dedicated To You was the only LP to feature the angelic falsetto of original lead singer George Smith, and it contains some of the group’s finest early singles including the propulsive “The Boston Monkey,” a charming dance number that forgoes the out and out exuberance of Smokey Robinson’s “Mickey’s Monkey” for tight harmonies and gentle but insistent exhortations to dance. As fine as the dance numbers are the real standouts are the ballads, particularly “Follow Your Heart” which boasts a tricky stop-start arrangement that might sound forced in the hands of a less skilled ensemble. Though The Manhattans would go on to much greater success in subsequent decades, few of their chart topping smashes boast the simple elegance and startling dynamism of the material collected here.