Words and Photos by Jude Ng
Soul music pretty much defined the 70’s and having two iconic groups from that era in one concert is a wonderful treat to music lovers. The concert opened with Cuba Gooding, Sr. (father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who represented The Main Ingredient. He sang two of their biggest hits, “Everybody Plays The Fool” and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely.” Cuba brought a lot of energy to the event, making the effort of going down and interacting with the audience.
But the main stars of the show are The Stylistics. Best known for their sleek, soulful Philadelphia sound, this quartet has been performing for nearly 40 years and became a worldwide-favorite for their showmanship, harmony and style. The Stylistics powered through hit after hit such as “I’m Stone in Love With You,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart),” “You Are Everything” and many more.
Formed in 1968, The Stylistics was originally comprised lead Russell Thompkins, Jr., Herbie Murrell, Airrion Love, James Smith, and James Dunn. After the original group disbanded in the 80s, Love, Murrell, and Thompkins continued to tour until 2000 and brought in two new members from one set of the Delfonics – Harold Eban Brown as lead singer, and tenor Van Fields who also sang with an a cappella group called A Perfect Blend. In 2011, Fields departed and was replaced with Jason Sharp (formerly with Heatwave).
The Stylistics brought with them an amazing band featuring great horns and percussions. They also danced with style and vigor that you would be hard pressed to believe that this band is 48 years old. Their songs may be considered old but listening to them live will make you feel young again.