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The Mad Lads – 1973 – A New Beginning

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Sort of a comeback album for The Mad Lads, and one that has their southern vocal group style hitting a style of production that’s a bit more way out than that on some of their 60’s recordings. The album’s a nice one – with these arrangements by Dale Warren that are a bit mad, as you could probably guess by the image of the band flying through the sky on the cover! 

The Mad Lads were an American rhythm and blues vocal group, who recorded on the Stax subsidiary label Volt in the 1960s. Their biggest hits were “Don’t Have To Shop Around” (1965) and “I Want Someone” (1966). The original line-up comprised John Gary Williams, Julius E. Green, William Brown and Robert Phillips. They were originally called The Emeralds, but changed their name because there was another group of that name; the name “Mad Lads” was suggested by Stax employee Deanie Parker in response to the group’s behavior and also in recognition of local disc jockey Reuben “Mad Lad” Washington.

A1 Pass The World (Love’s The Word)6:00
A2 I’m So Glad I Fell In Love With You 2:12
A3 Seeing Is Believin’ 5:54
A4 I’ll Still Be Loving You 3:40
B1 Gone ! The Promises Of Yesterday 3:41
B2 I Forgot To Be Your Lover 4:45
B3 I’m Afraid Of Losing You 3:52
B4 Destination 4:52

By Richie Unterberger

One of the few vocal groups on the Stax roster during the ’60s, the Mad Lads’ doo wop-influenced harmonies — featuring the high, innocent tenor of John Gary Williams — were more akin to what you might find in Philadelphia soul acts than those of their native Memphis. The group members were still in high school when the Mad Lads were signed to Stax in late 1964. In the mid-’60s, they enjoyed solid R&B hits with “Don’t Have to Shop Around,” “I Want Someone,” and “I Want a Girl,” although they never would cross over to the pop audience. Williams and fellow Mad Lad William Brown were drafted in 1966, and their recording career was suspended while they were in the service (although they carried on live with replacements).

After their discharge, Williams and Brown were told by fellow original members Julius Green and Robert Philips that they didn’t want Brown in the group; Brown and Stax co-owner Jim Stewart forced them to reinstate Williams, but their subsequent efforts were more in the Stax soul/funk formula, and not as memorable as their more atypical mid-’60s singles. They did return to the R&B Top 30 in 1968 with “Whatever Hurts You.”