“Not on the Outside” was before Harry Ray’s involvement with the group, and Mark Greene was a vocalist here. The album goes back to the Moment’s first hit single, 1968’s “Not On The Outside,” a mid-tempo number. This is not the only classic jam here. The group relies less on cover material, and more on originals, often written by Sylvia Robinson, and with some lyrical help from the group itself.
Here, we have the original Moments’ version of “Love On A Two-Way Street” from 1968-69. Lezslie Valentine, another Stang Records artist did the first version in 1968, and her version is truly heartfelt and emotionally purging, but her version did not chart to the best of my knowledge. The Moments picked it up, and even it took a while before they gained fame from it as a smash: it took until early 1970, and the song was re-released on A Moment With the Moments album also in 1970. The song is truly one of my favorite songs of all time, and it rings with soft, sweet neo-doo-wop harmony. Another favorite from Not On… is the slow drag winner “Somebody Loves You Baby“, a song with a sweet, string laden arrangement foreshadowing the soft harmony soul that would prevail in the early 70’s. There are some phat uptempo grooves here as well, such as the groovy “Hurts On Me Baby“, slightly reminiscent of a Motown recording of the late 60’s. “Pocketful of Heartbreak” is yet another slower heartfelt jam, based on doo-wop harmony. I really love the slower jams, and there are plenty here.
By Andrew Hamilton
An asterisk should be placed on the Moments’ first LP release for Stang Records, as the label was seeking to capitalize on the success of “Not on the Outside“. Billy Brown, Al Goodman, and Johnny Morgan are pictured on the cover as the Moments, and this trio does perform the bulk of the tunes, but the guys who sang on “Not on the Outside” and “Understanding” were a completely different group. For years, many thought Billy Brown led the song; Mark Greene, a Baltimorean, actually sang lead, accompanied by Johnny Moore and Richie Horsely, the original Moments. Some swear there were four members on the recording. However, when released, only three members were around, and two of them — Horsely and Greene — were fired as the song ran up the R&B chart, stopping at number 13; it reached the 57th position on the pop chart. The original Moments only did one gig, a week-long Apollo Theater engagement.
Johnny Morgan leads on “Understanding“, a rather dull song, and Al Goodman fronts “Pocketful of Heartbreak” — better, but still nondescript. Billy Brown handles the rest and shines on “Sunday” and “I’m So Lost“, two ballads done in Brown’s innocent-sounding falsetto. Brown displays restrained emotion on the supercharged ballad “Somebody Loves You Baby“; one of their most underrated recordings which was released as the B-side of “Sunday”. “I Won’t Do Anything” pretty but lame, was covered by labelmate Lezlie Valentine. And what became their biggest recording wasn’t released immediately.
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Listening to “Love on a Two Way Street” critically, it’s understandable as to why Sylvia held it back and viewed it as an album cut. It sounds incomplete, with an off-key clanging guitar note played during the song becoming irritating after repeated plays.