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O'Jays: Message in the Music

Joe McEwen, Rolling Stone, 16 December 1976

NOW THAT the Staples are unabashed sex merchants, the O'Jays are pop's foremost message mongerers. But the O'Jays don't write or produce their albums, so their records are vehicles for the occasionally cloudy religious and social visions of producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. In his liner notes, Gamble defines The Problem as a "lack of truth and communication among man and woman." He says, "The word with music can ... calm the savage beast that lives in every man." Whatever happened to "I don't want no malt, I wanna dance"?

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