Wednesday, 20 August 2014

"Ship Ahoy" by THE O'JAYS - A Review Of Their 1973 Philadelphia International LP - Now Remastered & Expanded In 2013 Onto A 40th Anniversary CD By Big Break Records of the UK...

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


A Number 1 USA R'n'B hit in late 1973 and a heavy-hitter pop breakthrough album - along with "Backstabbers" that went before it in 1972 - "Ship Ahoy" holds a special place in the hearts of every O'Jays fan. It's also one of the Soul gems on a record label that's held in mighty affection to this day - Philadelphia International. And once again it has to be said that BBR of the UK (Big Break Records) has done the album proud with this 40th Anniversary CD reissue. Here are the Phillybuster details...

Reissued February 2013 in the UK - Big Break Records CDBBR 0207 breaks down as follows (55:17 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 8 are the album "Ship Ahoy" - originally released in the USA and UK on Philadelphia International KZ 32408 and S PIR 65860 in October 1973.

Track 9 is "Put Your Hands Together (Live In London, December 1973)" while 10 and 11 are "Single Versions" of "For The Love Of Money" and "Now That We Found Love".

This CD will allow fans to sequence the following singles issued around the album:
1. Put Your Hands Together b/w You Got Your Hooks In Me - November 1973 US 7" single on Philadelphia International ZS7 3535.
2. For The Love Of Money b/w People Keep Telling Me - March 1974 US 7" single on ZS7 3744
3. Put Your Hands Together b/w The Air That I Breath - November 1973 UK 7" single on S PIR 1905
4. For The Love Of Money b/w People Keep Telling Me - March 1974 UK 7" single on S PIR 2186
5. Now That We Found Love b/w You Got Your Hooks In Me - August 1974 UK 7" single on S PIR 2577

The jewel case is one of those new rounded corner deals and the 16-page booklet features detailed liner notes by CHRISTIAN JOHN WIKANE - a New Yorker writer who is a contributing Editor to "PopMatters" website. The booklet has various US picture sleeves, Philly memorabilia etc. The remaster is by WAYNE A. DICKSON and is superlative - incredibly clean, clear and present reflecting GAMBLE & HUFF'S superb production values back in the day. I can't emphasize enough how good BBR CDs sound - I've reviewed over 15 (see list below) - and this is no different. A joy to listen too...

Side 1 is pretty much flawless - and how good is it to hear the full album stretch of "Ship Ahoy" at nearly nine minutes with its bells and fog horns and spoken passages. “The Air I Breathe" is an uptempo dancer about suburban pollution that could easily have been another successful hit single while the truly lovely "You Got Your Hooks In Me" (lyrics above) is the kind of BUNNY SIGLER ballad that defines their 'lurve' side - pull them close and feel that heat people!

Side 2 opens with the full album version of the fabulously perky "For The Love Of Money" - funkifying your speakers for over seven minutes (the remaster is so good on the bass and brass). "Don't Call Me Brother" apes Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" for its opening seconds but then settles into a stunning smoochy vibe about 'getting yourself together' and 'respecting your woman'. It finishes on the almost disco-precursor "People Keep Telling Me" where someone is doing someone wrong - yet again. The polish of the 'live' version of "Put Your Hands Together" is amazing - the band tight while the boys whip the crowd into a 'let us pray' and 'come on' frenzy - great stuff. And I've been looking for the single edits for years.

This is a superb reissue - and kudos once again to BBR for its top sound quality and classy presentation.

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