Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Sylvers - Greatest Hits
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B
Sylvers Fans... There Is Hope!
David Wayne | Santee, CA United States | 05/12/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"To fans of The Sylvers: I recommend you read the review below on the "Neglected Sylvers." This collection has The Sylvers' big hits from their Pop years, when the troop went Disco, and scored with "Boogie Fever," "Hotline," and "High School Dance." These may have been The Sylver's greatest hits, but their best work truly is from the days before "Boogie Fever" hit #1 Pop. Leon Sylvers III was the driving force behind the group. Throughout their tenure at Pride Records, Leon proved himself to be a fresh, innovative, and prolific songwriter. His tunes had an urban sophistication, were funky, and quite romantic. He also knew how to arrange his songs and his siblings' vocals, for maximum effect. Knowing that his family's group was not the first to hit the market (see The 5 Stairsteps and The Jackson 5), Leon steered the act away from bubble gum. The initial clutch of singles ("Fools Paradise" "Wish That I Could Talk To You" "Through The Love In My Heart" "Stay Away From Me") were directed toward older teens and young adults. "Fools Paradise" is particularly beautiful and mature; easily, I think, their greatest record. Even the singles Leon produced on his younger brother, Foster ("Misdemeanor" and "Hey Little Girl"), were funkier than anything Michael Jackson was putting out on his solo albums. It would have been interesting to see which direction Leon would have taken after 1975. But, unfortunately for us, Capitol Record was on the prowl for Black acts that it could profit from, and The Sylvers were scooped up and turned into a poor man's Jackson 5. They sold a lot of records during the early days of Disco, and the highlights of those years are on this skimpy collection. But, given the direction they took (abandon your roots and make money), it should surprise no one that The Sylvers were done by the end of the 1970s. That's a shame, because these brothers and sisters could really sing. But for true fans of The (original) Sylvers, there is hope. There is a compilation issued by Razor & Tie that is 16 cuts strong, featuring ALL of The Sylvers' early hits, all their Disco smashes, and the work from their later years at Casablanca Records. Everything that ever charted by the group, or by Foster or Edmund solo, is on this disc, so look for it. It puts this limited (in more ways than one) compilation to shame! By the way, Leon Sylvers went on to become one of the most sought-after producers on the West Coast, during the 1980s and 1990s."
The Shamefully Neglected Sylvers
firstname.lastname@example.org | Williamstown, MA | 05/24/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Greatest Hits"? There are some groups whom you really can't appreciate if you know nothing but their hits--groups that, for all their unevenness, produce enough good music to earn a special place in the hearts of listeners avid for something more than catchy tunes. And while The Sylvers can't claim to deserve "retrospectives," and will never have afficianadoes raving about unreleased recordings, they deserve better than to have their early work completely ignored by this compilation. So if by some miracle you like the Sylvers' music, but weren't around back in the mid-70s (before the silliness of disco and the wretched "Boogie Fever"), then do yourself a favor: try to get recordings of the first three Sylvers' albums (entitled, respectively, The Sylvers, The Sylvers II, and The Sylvers III). The first sports a photograph of the original six Sylvers, and though time may have made the absolutely huge afros the Sylvers' men wear a little comical, you will have to agree that never in the history of music has there been a group whose members, male and female, were so incredibly beautiful! As for the music, the Sylvers may suffer in comparison to the Jackson 5 (as they were known then) because their music was not as infectious, but then, as far as musical sophistication goes, the Sylvers were infinitely more inventive. To hear this, you need only consider the fact that the Jackson 5 were mostly earthy energy, while the Sylvers could combine earthiness with the angelic: For earthiness, listen to "So Close" from The Sylvers, or their first hit, "Fools Paradise"--a bit of social commentary way beyond anything the Jackson 5 were groomed for. But what you really want to enjoy in the Sylvers are the vocal arrangements: the Sylvers really show what is possible when there is no lead singer, because whoever the main character of the song is, the voice is now masculine now feminine, now individual now choral--and at times the lead singer for the moment actually responds to the chorus, as in some of the popular songs from the 40s. The effect is brilliant, because the arrangement permits them to weave their voices in and out. The magical glissando of the simple cry "Oh!" in "How Love Hurts" (from their first album) always sends shivers down my spine; and then there is "I'll Never Be Ashamed Again," with its complex vocal lines and a musical collage that is glittering, sassy, and yearning--a truly incredible mix. From Sylvers II, there is their cover of "Yesterday," which they do a cappella, the sensuous, at times funkily stately "Through the Love in My Heart," the prayerful nostalgia of "I Remember," and the giddily spiritual climax of "Cry of A Dreamer." From Sylvers III, I recommend "Could Be You," with its wonderful shifts in musical mood and "Want You Be My Love." The only problem with the Sylvers is that it is sometimes just plain impossible to understand what they're saying--I defy anyone, for instance, to tell me what the chorus sings towards the close of "Cry of A Dreamer," (Sylvers II); at other times, some of the lines can be plain bad: "Through the Love in My Heart" sports the execrable line "and by then we will determine if we are truly meant for each other," which sings well, but it is not poetry. Despite these faults, along with what for me are indifferent songs, I think the Sylvers are really underappreciated--if for nothing else, they show how soul music can have the vocal complexity of Italian madrigals. Best of all, I first heard their music back in 1973 and 1974--and then left the albums at my mother's place until 1998; so I rediscovered this music after 25 years, and found it fresh, original, and full with a sheer loveliness that is present in both vocals and orchestrations. Don't let the market dictate what you can hear! Find the original Sylvers and let them show you their little corner of heaven."
R. I. P. Edmund Sylvers...
WILLIE A YOUNG II | Houston, TX. | 03/27/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was recently watching my worn VHS copy of The Sylvers on "American Bandstand" from 1976 and was instantly transported back to my happy, hip childhood. For Nostalgia's sake, this LP works to fine effect. "Boogie Fever", "Hotline" and all the disco era hits here are bubblegum soul/pop at it's best (topped only by The Jacksons)and are still great fun to spin when you're in the mood for some old school that isn't the usual heartbreak balladry/repetitive funk junk. "Something Special" was the group's best studio LP and is worth searching out. Sadly, the fine voice of leader Edmund Sylvers was recently silenced after he succumbed to lung cancer at 47. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'll miss him. Funny thing, I suddenly don't feel like a kid anymore, But this great music helps me remember what it was like."