The music world is once again in mourning over the death of Al Goodman, who passed away on Monday (July 26) of heart failure.
Goodman was a member of the highly popular trio The Moments, which later became known as Ray, Goodman & Brown. In this edition of Know Your Samples, I trace their musical legacy from Ghostface Killah to supplying Jay-Z with one of his biggest singles.
The original group was formed in 1965 as a foursome with none of the later members. The most popular lineup of Harry Ray, Al Goodman and Billy Brown did not surface until 1970 immediately following their chart-topping smash hit “Love On a Two Way Street.” The track shot to #1 on the R&B Charts and #3 in the country.
The song would find new life 39 years later in the hands of producer Alexander Shuckburg, and writers Janet Sewell-Ulepic and Angela Hunte. Their creation would yield a #1 single for five consecutive weeks in Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.”
In another Hip-Hop connection, the Moment’s composition was produced by Sylvia Robinson, who would go on to found SugarHill Records and release the first commercially successful rap song in SugarHill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” Al Goodman oversaw many of the daily operations at label’s recording studio in Englewood, New Jersey. There he was essential for getting many early rap classics records like Melle Mel’s “White Lines.”
Consequence got in on the action for his joint “So Soulful”
”Love on a Two Way Street” was released on their album A Moment with the Moments. That LP was tapped by the Jungle Brothers, who used “I’ve Got to Keep On Loving You” for “My Jimmy Weight a Ton.”
Jungle Brothers “My Jimmy Weighs a Ton”
For their sixth studio album, Those Sexy Moments, the group dropped an absolute scorcher of a love song in “Sexy Mama.” With lines like “I wanna open up those love gates to my heaven,” I think it’s safe to say 1974 was a very active year in a lot of people’s bedrooms.
The arrangements on this one didn’t need much tweaking among Hip-Hop artists ranging from the Firm to Kam.
Orchestral ballads always have a big, sprawling sound that I love. And of course, they are perfect templates for Hip-Hop records, Check what Jay-Z and Snoop did with the gem “What’s Your Name.”
By 1979 The Moments were at odds with their label Stang. They secured a release but were unable to keep their original name. Undeterred, the group relaunched that same year under their real names as Ray, Goodman & Brown. They had an immediate impact with their gold-selling, self-titled album on Polydor.
The project’s big single “Special Lady” would become “Jellyfish” off Ghostface Killah’s acclaimed Fishscale album.
Of course I have to end with a personal favorite of mine, also from their self-titled album. Bassline is jaw-dropping.
Ray, Goodman & Brown recorded their final studio album in 1989. The group charted 39 times throughout their career. Harry Ray passed away in 1992. With Goodman’s death, Billy Brown is sole surviving member of the group.
In speaking with CNN, Chi-Lites singer Marshall Thompson put it best.
“There’s mourning all over the world- in England, in Germany and in Japan. We’re all mourning for Al Goodman,” he said.
On behalf of Beats, Boxing and Mayhem I send my deepeset sympathies to the Goodman family, friends and fans. Rest in peace brother, you’ve done well.
Not on the Outside, But on the Inside, Strong! (1969)
On Top (1970)
A Moment with the Moments (1970)
The Other Side of the Moments (1972)
My Thing (1974)
Those Sexy Moments (1974)
Look At Me (1975)
Moments with You (1977)
Ray, Goodman & Brown
Ray, Goodman & Brown (1979)
Ray, Goodman & Brown II (1980)
Open Up (1982)
Take It to the Limit (1986)
Those Sexy Moments (1989)