What goes down better than a glass of OJ? How about a smooth-sailing, seamlessly composed number from a band by the same name. The O’Jays are one of the most famous and reputed soul groups of all time and their contribution to the genre is unparalleled. They initially made their mark in history by becoming the first black male group to perform in a stadium and arena setting but then went on to dominate the ears of fans around the world. With such hits as ‘Backstabbers’, ‘Love Train’ and ‘I Love Music’, The O’jays were hitting highs on every level. The dynamic trio started in the early sixties and continued to produce chart-topping hits for decades to come. Having an impressive seven singles reach top twenty in the charts and an ever mightier eight albums, the group set a precedent quite like no other. No to mention, a generous handful of these albums and records went gold.
To anyone who hasn’t heard this week’s track of the week before; or, at least thinks it sounds familiar; it will be down to the famous 1978 remix sang by the reggae outfit, Third World. The original O’Jays version was released back in ’73 on Philadelphia records and the song carries a cerebral and warm chiming feeling which is synonymous with the album as a whole. However, ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’ is unique to the rest of the album as it is more of a celebration rather than a protest. The 1973 featured album, ‘Ship Ahoy’ was in fact a bold and potent outcry for the inequalities in society. With the majority of the songs protesting about greed, racism and inner-city differences, ‘Ship Ahoy’ could have very easily have been perceived as one heck of a miserable album. However, thanks to the unbelievably smooth serenade of The O’Jays, they manage to make even the most dark and serious topics a pleasure to listen to. Daryl Easlea of the BBC stated how he thought that “Never has an album so angry sounded so sweet”. This for me is where ‘Now that we found love’ really stands out. Although sounding just as harmonious and melodic as the rest of the album, ‘Now that we found love’ acts as a celebration of and metaphor for the progress of civil rights and the start of a relationship, separating it’s message entirely from the other songs on the LP. The song is a perfect example of fine Philly-soul and the immaculately assembled social message, masked and polished as a love song, is a classic which was been recognised through the ages. Previously mentioned covers include that of BT Express, Martha Reeves, Heavy D and the more notable, Third World.
The O’Jay’s were renowned for being one of the most influential soul groups of all time and both ‘Now that we found love’ and ‘Ship Ahoy’ don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the depth and magnitude of their music.
Listen & enjoy here –