October 14, 1985 12:00 PM

The O’Jays

Something is rotten in Philly. A little more than a decade ago, guided by those pioneers of crossover, Philadelphia songwriter-producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the O’Jays flavored their R&B style with enough rock embellishments to grab both the Soul Train and American Bandstand audiences. Love Fever, sadly, is unlikely to grab even the guys back on the corner of Broad and Diamond. Singers Eddie Levert and Walter Williams still constitute one of the best one-two punches in soul. Their voices, as rich and tasty as butterscotch, have lost nothing. But the music on this LP utterly fails to cast off the sparks generated by quality material. On this record Levert and Williams are shackled with dime-a-dance disco, bland ballads and addlepated fluff. They are able to wrest a few satisfying moments out of the slower songs, but it is only by dint of some strenuous vocal gymnastics. It’s a shame to see the talented O’Jays work so hard on such thankless tunes. (Manhattan)

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