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A Moments Pleasure

Starlight Serenade presents A Moments Pleasure (1996)

2.8

June 11, 2000

Tuning / Blend 2.4
Energy / Intensity 3.0
Innovation / Creativity 2.8
Soloists 3.2
Sound / Production 2.4
Repeat Listenability 2.4
Tracks
1 Intro 2.2
2 Lovey Dovey 3.0
3 The Girl I Love 3.4
4 Baby It's You 2.8
5 Nobody Loves Me Like You 2.8
6 Be Sure My Love 2.8
7 Pain In My Heart 2.8
8 Time Makes You Change 3.4
9 Every Beat Of My Heart 2.8
10 My Girl Awaits Me 3.2
11 Oh What A Night 3.0
12 Finger Poppin' Time 3.2
13 Chapel Of Dreams 2.4
14 My Dream 2.6
15 Jo Jo 2.6
16 My Plea 2.6
17 When I Fall In Love 3.0
18 Does She Love Me 3.2
19 The Coffee Grind 2.6
20 Can't Do Sixty No More 2.8
21 On Sunday Afternoon 3.0
22 Diamonds And Pearls 3.0
23 Without Love (There Is Nothing) 2.8
24 Outro 2.6

Recorded 1996
Total time: 57:39, 24 songs


Tuning / Blend 3
Energy / Intensity 2
Innovation / Creativity 2
Soloists 2
Sound / Production 2
Repeat Listenability 1
Tracks
1 Intro 2
2 Lovey Dovey 2
3 The Girl I Love 3
4 Baby It's You 2
5 Nobody Loves Me Like You 2
6 Be Sure My Love 3
7 Pain In My Heart 2
8 Time Makes You Change 3
9 Every Beat Of My Heart 3
10 My Girl Awaits Me 3
11 Oh What A Night 2
12 Finger Poppin' Time 2
13 Chapel Of Dreams 1
14 My Dream 2
15 Jo Jo 2
16 My Plea 3
17 When I Fall In Love 2
18 Does She Love Me 3
19 The Coffee Grind 3
20 Can't Do Sixty No More 1
21 On Sunday Afternoon 3
22 Diamonds And Pearls 2
23 Without Love (There Is Nothing) 2
24 Outro 2

A Moments Pleasure is essentially old school: doo wop sorts of songs with a couple of other things thrown in. Even so far as that goes, however, the album is not very good. Pitch and balance problems persist throughout, especially in the higher voices, the leads are consistently uninteresting, and the recording seems to have taken place in someone's closet.

As such, there is nothing on this album by which I could recommend its purchase against other doo wop groups (e.g., the Mighty Echoes). In fact, I raise one of my frequent concerns, one I normally have with collegiate albums: charging money for a disc which may very well be the group's best effort to date, but which frankly isn't even in the running so far as the a cappella race is concerned. A Moments Pleasure should take some more time, practice some more, and record again at a later date.

And therein lies my second problem: this album is several years old. For all I know, A Moments Pleasure may very well have taken more time etc., or by now be entirely disbanded. In the first case, the buyer is urged to avoid this first album and go for something later; in the second case, the buyer is urged to avoid an album which would have only historical interest, and not really any musical value.


Tuning / Blend 3
Energy / Intensity 4
Innovation / Creativity 3
Soloists 4
Sound / Production 3
Repeat Listenability 4
Tracks
1 Intro 4
2 Lovey Dovey 5
3 The Girl I Love 4
4 Baby It's You 4
5 Nobody Loves Me Like You 4
6 Be Sure My Love 3
7 Pain In My Heart 4
8 Time Makes You Change 5
9 Every Beat Of My Heart 3
10 My Girl Awaits Me 5
11 Oh What A Night 5
12 Finger Poppin' Time 5
13 Chapel Of Dreams 4
14 My Dream 3
15 Jo Jo 3
16 My Plea 3
17 When I Fall In Love 5
18 Does She Love Me 5
19 The Coffee Grind 4
20 Can't Do Sixty No More 4
21 On Sunday Afternoon 5
22 Diamonds And Pearls 5
23 Without Love (There Is Nothing) 4
24 Outro 4

Another Starlight Serenade production brings us this quintet from Philadelphia collectively known as A Moments Pleasure. They describe their own sound as "a total experience in Rhythm & Blues, `acappella' style", though I find their self described street corner sound of the '40s, '50s, and early '60s to be more accurate, much in the same vein as the Persuasions. So right away, if you're looking for polished, synthesized, slickly produced recordings, you're in the wrong place. It just isn't here.

What is here is a truer recording of five guys who are in the moment on every track they record. No layering, no synthesized drums, no echo effects...five guys around a microphone and singing from the heart. And for some reason, this trueness is enough for me to recommend this recording in spite of some tentative tuning. It's not a perfect recording, it doesn't deserve a five...but it does deserve your ear and your time. Where else are you going to find the experience of five guys who came together with individual experience and continued together for over fourteen years.

If anything does wear on me about this, it's that there are so many tracks from that era that sound similar, it does start to blend together. Blessedly, the tracks are straightforward...the guys aren't looking to work vocal gymnastics on each track. Rare is the track that lasts over four minutes.


Tuning / Blend 1
Energy / Intensity 3
Innovation / Creativity 3
Soloists 4
Sound / Production 2
Repeat Listenability 2
Tracks
1 Intro 2
2 Lovey Dovey 3
3 The Girl I Love 4
4 Baby It's You 3
5 Nobody Loves Me Like You 2
6 Be Sure My Love 3
7 Pain In My Heart 3
8 Time Makes You Change 4
9 Every Beat Of My Heart 3
10 My Girl Awaits Me 2
11 Oh What A Night 3
12 Finger Poppin' Time 4
13 Chapel Of Dreams 2
14 My Dream 2
15 Jo Jo 3
16 My Plea 2
17 When I Fall In Love 3
18 Does She Love Me 3
19 The Coffee Grind 1
20 Can't Do Sixty No More 3
21 On Sunday Afternoon 2
22 Diamonds And Pearls 3
23 Without Love (There Is Nothing) 2
24 Outro 4

Okay, this may sound horrible, but the name of this group is just too apt — A Moments Pleasure. When I first popped this baby into the CD player, I thought, how cool, the rough and rugged sound of a real street corner doo wop group. The stylin' is believable, the songs are fun, and the soloists have this great seasoned sound. However, there are so many tuning issues throughout this album that even though I am inclined to give them as much leniency as I can, all this group gave me was, in fact, a moment's pleasure.

True, A Moments Pleasure's style doesn't really require perfection in the way that a jazz record might, but at a certain point, I had to draw the line. For example, at the end of track 10 (My Girl Awaits Me) A Moments Pleasure seem to forget to resolve their chord into, well, a chord. Yikes. Track 15, Jo Jo features some quick doo wop chords — and too many of them are off for even the most lenient observer to ignore. Not to say it isn't a great tune. Again, the closing chord of The Coffee Grind is also quite off.

Needless to say, my initial liking for this record was soon overshadowed by winces at chords that my friend Adrian Khactu would sarcastically call, "advanced jazz modulations".

I'm sure that this album does not do this group justice — it sounds like A Moments Pleasure has been singing together for years. In fact, I have no doubt that this group could create an exciting, listenable album for us a cappella enthusiasts. It would, however, take the group spending more time in the studio, tightening up chords and adding some polish to their work. Maybe next time.


Tuning / Blend 3
Energy / Intensity 4
Innovation / Creativity 4
Soloists 3
Sound / Production 3
Repeat Listenability 3
Tracks
1 Intro 2
2 Lovey Dovey 3
3 The Girl I Love 3
4 Baby It's You 3
5 Nobody Loves Me Like You 3
6 Be Sure My Love 3
7 Pain In My Heart 3
8 Time Makes You Change 3
9 Every Beat Of My Heart 3
10 My Girl Awaits Me 3
11 Oh What A Night 3
12 Finger Poppin' Time 3
13 Chapel Of Dreams 3
14 My Dream 3
15 Jo Jo 3
16 My Plea 3
17 When I Fall In Love 3
18 Does She Love Me 3
19 The Coffee Grind 3
20 Can't Do Sixty No More 3
21 On Sunday Afternoon 3
22 Diamonds And Pearls 3
23 Without Love (There Is Nothing) 3
24 Outro 2

A Moments Pleasure is a vocal quintet from Philadelphia that sings R&B a cappella songs of the late '40s through early '60s. The group was founded in 1982 and recorded this album in 1996. The members are all former members of other doo-wop R&B groups that I have never heard of.

Their album bears the terribly unoriginal title of "Starlight Serenade Presents A Moments Pleasure (Acappella)". Starlight Serenade refers to Starlight Discs, the company on Staten Island, NY that seems to produce many of these doo-wop albums (four of which I have to review and all sound pretty much the same) that seem to pay little attention to pitch, blend, and other qualities often employed by more modern professional groups.

Now I am not saying that this is a bad album. On the contrary, it's a pretty decent album. My mother thinks "it sounds nice". If you are looking for a studio album from a group that is very tight and precise then I would recommend picking up another disc. A Moments Pleasure sings from the heart and that is what will carry you through the album.

The songs on this disc are not your run-of-the-mill doo-wop hits. You'll find no In The Still of The Night or You Belong To Me. Nor will you find any of the more modern hits posing as doo-wop songs like For The Longest Time or The River of Dreams (both Billy Joel songs, hmmm). What you do find is a collection of some lesser known songs, to young-uns like myself, but what I think is a much cooler and soulful sound than you might find on albums from similar groups.


Tuning / Blend 2
Energy / Intensity 2
Innovation / Creativity 2
Soloists 3
Sound / Production 2
Repeat Listenability 2
Tracks
1 Intro 1
2 Lovey Dovey 2
3 The Girl I Love 3
4 Baby It's You 2
5 Nobody Loves Me Like You 3
6 Be Sure My Love 2
7 Pain In My Heart 2
8 Time Makes You Change 2
9 Every Beat Of My Heart 2
10 My Girl Awaits Me 3
11 Oh What A Night 2
12 Finger Poppin' Time 2
13 Chapel Of Dreams 2
14 My Dream 3
15 Jo Jo 2
16 My Plea 2
17 When I Fall In Love 2
18 Does She Love Me 2
19 The Coffee Grind 2
20 Can't Do Sixty No More 3
21 On Sunday Afternoon 2
22 Diamonds And Pearls 2
23 Without Love (There Is Nothing) 3
24 Outro 1

Reviewing a doo-wop CD is always tricky because it's hard to qualify a review when it pertains to one of the most unique forms of a cappella music. The goals are different in doo-wop. It is not to trick the ear into thinking there are guitars, horns, or drums, but to take everyone back. Most of us have heard the old "street sound". The raspy high-tenor whose "OO" vibrates back and forth from in tune to harshly out of tune. And the old school bass with his penetrating tone that sets the standard for everyone above him. The Persuasions have it, Talk of Da Town has it, and this group has it as well.

The disc itself consists of 24 tunes, 22 if you do not count the ill-advised "rapping" on tracks 1 and 24. The majority of tracks feature a very live sound, with little or no mixing done to hamper the pureness of the product. This, however, usually produces poor blend and poor intonation. Most tracks showcase this lack of intonation and will usually make the trained ear cringe in the process. Overlooking the lacking blend and such, you will begin to appreciate the uniqueness of the sound. I enjoyed the song selection, though 24 tracks makes for a lot of starting and stopping. Most tracks fall in the 2:00 to 3:15 category. My favorite, Can't Do Sixty No More is quite catchy. I'm sure he means push-ups, right?

This CD represents a form of a cappella that everyone should know. Whether you love it or not is another story. I would recommend this CD everyone who enjoys and can appreciate the trueness of the genre. It is one that will hopefully last through time. I would not recommend this CD to those looking for a refined sound.

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Ordering Information

CDs are $15 each, plus $1 shipping
Make check payable to Robert Kretzschmar, and send to

Starlight Discs
115 Mundy Ave.
Staten Island, New York 10310

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