The Moments  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"The Moments were also co-credited with labelmates The Whatnauts on their hit "Girls", which only made #25 on the U.S. R&B charts, but became one of their biggest international successes, reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1975."

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ray, Goodman & Brown, are an American R&B vocal group. The group originated as The Moments, who formed in the late 1960s and whose greatest successes came in the early 1970s with hits including "Love On A Two Way Street", "Girls", and "Look At Me (I’m In Love)". In 1979, for contractual reasons, they changed their name to Ray, Goodman & Brown, and had further hits including "Special Lady". A line-up of The Moments, featuring original member Mark Greene, also tours.

The original group

The original members of The Moments were Mark Greene, Eric Olfus, Sr., Richard Gross, and John Morgan. The group formed in Washington, D.C. in the mid 1960s, and were signed to the newly established Stang Records label set up by Sylvia Robinson at All Platinum Studios in Englewood, New Jersey, run by Sylvia and her husband, Joe Robinson. The group had their first hit almost immediately late in 1968 with "Not On The Outside", which reached #13 on the R&B chart and #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with Greene handling lead vocal duties on the first chart hit. The group quickly scaled down to a trio(some sources credit Greene, Richie Horsley and Johnny Moore as comprising this lineup)but Greene and Horsley left All Platinum in 1969, being replaced by baritone Al Goodman (born 31 March 1947, Jackson, Mississippi) and new lead tenor/baritone singer William "Billy" Brown (born 30 June 1946, Perth Amboy, New Jersey) while Morgan stayed on. Brown had previously been a member of The Broadways, who had recorded on the MGM label. Goodman(after a couple of performing stints with The Corvettes and The Vipers)had been hired by Joe Robinson as a studio production creative assistant/singer/songwriter and on records played the substitute role of 'Mickey' (as in Mickey & Sylvia - of whom Sylvia Robinson was formerly one-half). The first Stang album release by 'The Moments' pictured Brown, Goodman and Morgan on the cover, though various members' voices existed on the different tracks recorded between 1968 and 1969. All Platinum also released a single recorded by Mark Greene, titled "My Confession of Love," with the flip side, "I'm So Lost" on the Stang Label. The B-side track appeared as a filler song on the first 'Moments' album(with Billy Brown's replacement lead vocal)in 1969, and was released as a single off the album later that year but only saw moderate chart success. After three of the four original members of The Moments had left All Platinum, Billy Brown recorded a new lead vocal track on what became their big breakthrough song "Love On A Two Way Street", which reached #1 on the R&B chart and #3 on the pop chart in the spring of 1970. The song had originally been recorded by Stang artist Lezli Valentine, but failed to chart and The Moments' version, produced by Sylvia Robinson, was originally included as a filler cut on the first LP(released in 1969)which was titled "Not On The Outside...But On The Inside, Strong!" Then, early in 1970, it was remixed and issued as a single and shot up on both the R&B and Pop charts - holding the #1 R&B spot for five weeks straight. The first album also contained a 'Moments' version of another Lezli Valentine song titled "I Won't Do Anything" with Brown again on lead vocals and it became the flip side of the hit single. Prior to The Moments' #1 hit, but after the first album's release, John Morgan was also replaced, for a brief period by Johnny Moore(pictured with Goodman and Brown on the cover of the group's second album which was rush-released in 1970)who also happened to be Sylvia Robinson's brother-in-law. But when Moore didn't show up for a scheduled live appearance with the group - since they were now considered as a new headlining musical attraction, he was fired and Goodman and Brown were forced to handle the gig as a duo until Harry Ray (15 December 1946, Long Branch - 1 October 1992)was soon plucked from his former local group 'The Establishment' to round out the now-famous trio. Ray took over lead vocalist duties for a while when Brown suffered a sore throat from so much lead singing and Ray was the lead voice on many of The Moments subsequent hits, including the follow-up "If I Didn’t Care" (#7 R&B, #44 pop, 1970), "Sexy Mama" (#3 R&B, #17 pop, 1973), and "Look At Me (I'm In Love)" (#1 R&B, #39 pop, 1975). After Brown recovered, they shared lead vocal duties and occasionally even Goodman took his turn in the lead, as well as serving as spokesman for the group. Ray also recorded a duet with Sylvia Robinson, "Sho Nuff Boogie" (billed as Sylvia and the Moments) in 1973. The Moments were also co-credited with labelmates The Whatnauts on their hit "Girls (Part 1)", which only made #25 on the U.S. R&B charts, but became one of their biggest international successes, reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1975. Harry Ray and Al Goodman were also strongly involved in writing and producing much of their material from the mid-70s as well as performing production and writing duties for All-Platinum's other artists. Much of the confusion concerning the group's history came about due to information being tailored by the label to promote the group in what became its' definitive lineup. By 1979 the group had had a total of 27 R&B chart hits, but decided to leave Stang to advance their creative efforts even further and signed with the larger Polydor Records label. However, a legal dispute arose barring them from using the name "The Moments" on their new label, so they renamed the group combining their last names: "Ray, Goodman & Brown."

Ray, Goodman & Brown

The first single under their new name, "Special Lady", became one of their biggest hits, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and #5 on the pop chart in early 1980. They followed it up with a succession of further hits, including "Inside Of You" (#14 R&B, 1980). In 1982, following the release of their fourth and final album for Polydor, Ray left the group for a solo career. He rejoined Sylvia and Joe Robinson at their new venture, Sugar Hill Records, but after one album and a minor hit, Sweet Baby, he returned to the group for its comeback on EMI with the ballad "Take It To the Limit" which put them back on the charts in a big way (#8 R&B, 1987).

Ray died suddenly from a stroke in 1992. He was replaced in the group by Kevin "Ray" Owens, who had previously been a backing vocalist for Luther Vandross and had taken Harry Ray's place when he had split from the group in the 80s. Occasionally, solo artist Greg Willis joined with Harry, Billy and Al in performances and later, on records, but never became a full-time member. Vocalist Wade 'Smokey' Elliot also did a stint with the group before signing a solo contract with CBS Records in the 1990's. With the return of Kevin 'Ray' Owens, the trio continues to perform and tour as Ray, Goodman & Brown and released two albums in 2002/3, one with new material and the other featuring excellent re-workings of classic soul songs by other male vocal groups. These re-united them with former All Platinum producer George Kerr. They also sang backup vocals on Alicia Key's song "You Don't Know My Name," which was a number 1 soul/R&B song in 2003. As of 2008, Kevin 'Ray' Owens, Al Goodman and Billy Brown have continued to record together, and tour(sometimes combined with added vocalist Larry 'Ice' Winfree), performing hits from both periods of their careers as 'The Moments' and as 'Ray, Goodman and Brown.'

The Moments featuring Mark Greene

Mark Greene was called back to join the renamed group of Ray, Goodman & Brown; however, he declined, claiming that no royalties were ever paid to him. He released a self-produced CD project titled Love Is More Than Spoken(first as "The Moments featuring Mark Greene" with Horsley and Moore pictured on the cover with him)then repackaged later as a 'solo' effort with only himself on the new cover. Greene later acquired the official legal trademark of "The Moments." Now known as "The Moments featuring Mark Greene", they continue to record, perform and tour. New members of the group are Solomon Cunningham and Loren Brown.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Moments" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools