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Best Of The Intruders
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Cowboys to Girls: The Best of the Intruders __________________________________________________

The Intruders
The Best of The Intruders: Cowboys to Girls

Epic Associated
Zk 66688


Huddled on the corners of the streets of Philadelphia. The Intruders devoted each and every waking moment to perfecting their delicate vocal harmonies. “Cowboys To Girls” was their ticket. The single captured the innocence and exuberance of their lamp-lit magic. In the process they grew from boys to men, addressing adult themes like “I’ll Always Love My Mama” and “I Wanna Know Your Name.” But “Save The Children” with its call for social responsibility, showed they never lost their connection to their urban roots. Powered by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s slick Philly soul machine, it brought them full circle as brothers, fathers and sons.

 1. A Love That’s Real (2:55)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 209, Rel. 1967
Charted 12/2/67; weeks: 8;
Peak: #35 R&B, #82 Pop

2. Cowboys To Girls (2:37)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 214, Rel. 1968
Charted 3/23/68; weeks: 14;
Peak: #1 R&B , #6 Pop

3. Together (2:56)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 205, Rel. 1967
Arranged by Joe Renzetti
Charted 4/15/67; weeks: 11;
Peak: #9 R&B, #48 Pop

4. (We’ll Be) United (2:50)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 201, Rel. 1966
Charted 7/9/66; weeks: 8;
Peak: #14 R&B, #78 Pop

5. (Love Is Like A) Baseball Game (2:44)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 217, Rel.  1968
Charted 7/20/68; weeks: 11;
Peak: #4 R&B, #26 Pop

6. Slow Drag (2:25)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 221, Rel. 1968
Charted 11/30/68; weeks: 10;
Peak: #12 R&B, #54 Pop

7. Sad Girl (1:55)
Gamble 255, Rel. 1969
Charted 8/23/69; weeks: 11;
Peak: #14 R&B, #47 Pop

8. Me Tarzan, You Jane
(K. Gamble/L. Huff/M. Farrow)
Gamble 225, Rel. 1969
Charted 5/3/69; weeks: 4;
Peak: #41 R&B

9. When We Get Married (3:21)
(D. Hogan)
Gamble 4004, Rel. 1970
Charted 6/6/70; weeks: 11;
Peak: #8 R&B, #45 Pop

10. Friends No More (2:56)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 32131, Rel. 1973
From the album Super Hits

11. (Win, Place or Show) She’s A Winner (2:25)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 672, Rel. 1972
Arranged by Bobby Martin
Charted 8/19/72; weeks: 10;
Peak: #12 R&B

12. Mother and Child Reunion (4:05)
(P. Simon)
Gamble 39991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Lenny Pakula
From the album Save The Children

13. I’ll Always Love My Mama (6:37)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff/J. Whitehead/G. McFadden)
Gamble 31991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Bobby Martin
Charted 5/12/73; weeks: 13;
Peak: #6 R&B, #36 Pop
From the album Save The Children

14. I Wanna Know Your Name (5:50)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 31991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Norman Harris
Charted 10/13/73; weeks: 15;
Peak: #9 R&B, #60 Pop
From the album Save The Children

15. Teardrops (5:09)
(E. Charles/H. Stanley/R. Calhoun/B. Goldner)
Gamble 31991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Bobby Martin
From the album Save The Children

16. Hang On In There (3:22)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 31991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Bobby Martin
From the album Save The Children

17. A Nice Girl Like You (3:28)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
TSOP 33149, Rel. 1974
Arranged by Bobby Martin
Charted 10/12/74; weeks: 14;
Peak: #21 R&B
From the album Energy Of Love

18. Plain Ol' Fashioned Girl
(C. Gilbert/T. Life)
TSOP 33149, Rel. 1974
Produced by Gilbert-Life
Arranged by Bobby Martin
From the album Energy Of Love

19. To Be Happy Is The Real Thing (3:28)
(K. Gamble/L. Huff)
Gamble 31991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Bobby Martin
From the album Save The Children

20. Save The Children (7:00)
(G. S. Heron)
Gamble 31991, Rel. 1973
Arranged by Lenny Pakula
From the album Save The Children


It was 1968 and my best friend and I were hanging out the window of her second floor apartment grooving to the bright, chirpy highs of her transistor radio, It was one year after the race riots of '67, and a few months before the murder of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was also springtime for two black preadolescents in America. The whole world was changing and we were changing with it. But no song we heard that day summed up our nubile, expectant, on-the-edge-of-everything state better than "Cowboys To Girls" by a young male quartet called The Intruders. With its unusual loping tempo and falsetto hooks, "Cowboys To Girls" went to #1 on the R&B chart, sold over a million copies and put the writing/production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff on the pop-crossover map. In '68, the glory years of Philadelphia International and its pioneering distribution deal through Columbia Records was just a faint glimmer on the horizon. But Gamble and Huff acknowledge that their work with The Intruders was the very foundation of what they called "The Sound Of Philadelphia."

In 1965, when Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff first contemplated leaving the Cameo/Parkway hit factory to risk launching a label of their own, the vocalists on which they pinned all their hopes and venture capital were The Intruders. Like many of the subsequent acts the duo produced, The Intruders had already developed a vocal sound that was both uniquely theirs and uniquely Philadelphian. Sam "Little Sonny" Brown, Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, Phillip "Phil" Terry and Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards had been recording and performing one-off singles together since' 61, blending Philly' s street corner doo-wop tradition with just the right amount of black gospel fervor. The result was neither as slick and pop-inflected as Motown, nor as funky and blues-inflected as Stax, but had an appeal all its own. The sound which The Intruders refined for the Excel, Gamble and Philly International imprints reflected a different attitude than either Stax or Motown. There was an intentional ambivalence in the arrangements between sophistication and simplicity, reflecting an increasingly cautious and transitional mood within the black community.

Little Sonny's distinguishing characteristic as lead singer was a slightly hoarse and imprecise vocal timbre. The odder textures and colors in his range projected an appealing vulnerability which gives the group its aural signature. (This equivocal tonality also had an emotional parallel in the uncertain way Americans – both white and black – were reacting to the effects of rapid desegregation. Those anxieties weren't addressed directly until Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Issac Hayes started writing overtly political material in 1971. Until then, black pop singers conveyed social tension indirectly, through style of delivery anf orchestration.) Little Sonny's fluid tenor conveyed the sound of a man constantly suspended between exhilaration and apprehension. On mellow ballads and cover tunes like Paul Simon's "Mother And Child Reunion," Sonny's vocal quirks added layers of nuanced tenderness to his interpretations.

As for the rest of the group, Daughtry, Edwards and Terry usually tried to sound gruff and declamatory in their lower registers, but pretty and ethereal in the falsetto range. A decade before the emergence of hip-hop, they'd often stop singing during a breakdown and "rap" directly to or about the subject of a song, In "I Wanna Know Your Name" they'd start chatting up some girl; in "I'll Always Love My Mama" they'd start shooting the breeze between themselves. It always seemed important to The Intruders that they come across as "kids from the 'hood," neither too effete nor too mature for the average high school kid to identify with. Identifying with an entire generation caught between genuine social progress and the stumbling block of institutionalized racism, The Intruders sang songs of tentative optimism and restless energy whose propulsive tempos featured horn, string, and guitar riffs that flickered in and out of the backing track as if dodging bullets.

Lyrically, The Intruders became famous for a kind of erudite nostalgia (epitomized in songs like “Cowboys To Girls,” “I’ll Always Love My Mama” and “A Nice Girl Like You”), idealizing black community values already in radical flux during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Witty novelty records like “(Love Is Like A) Baseball Game” prefigured a subsequent fad for singles in which romance was described in jargon-filled sport and medical metaphors. Other early recordings like “(We’ll Be) United,” “Together” and “A Love That’s Real” amply illustrated an emerging formula in the group’s consistent approach towards falsetto harmonies, melodic basslines and tasty instrumental fills. Backed by many of the gifted session musicians who would later cohere into MSFB, The Intruders enjoyed the input of black and white players adept at everything from hard rock to big-band jazz.

By 1974, The Intruders’ label had solidified a significant and diverse roster of artists, established international distribution through the powerful CBS combine and forged a relationship with the most influential black music outlet on television. When Don Cornelius accepted a version of MSFB’s “TSOP” for the theme song of Soul Train, he was assuring national promotion for The Sound Of Philadelphia every week for the rest of the decade. Soul Train, almost always went out of its way to support and champion young black independent labels; a similar relationship between American Bandstand and Cameo/Parkway in 1960 turned Chubby Checker’s version of “The Twist” into a worldwide multi-million dollar dance hit. People had been trying to duplicate the twist phenomenon ever since, but in an increasingly crowded field of good black music and labels specializing in black music, chart-topping hits were hard to come by – no matter how much promotion you had. In 1973, The Intruders released the album Save The Children which generated popular street anthems like “Hang On In There” and “I’ll Always Love My Mama.” But “Cowboys To Girls” would remain the only chart topping single of their career.

When they joined Billy Paul and The O’Jays in ’73 on a U.K tour to promote Philadelphia International in Europe, their sharper, slicker-sounding label mates were already garnering more than their equal share of attention from soul fans at home and abroad. Although The Intruders’ next album Energy Of Love, spawned a few more charting singles in ’74 (including the charming, gentlemanly “A Nice Girl Like You”) their momentum – the true energy – behind the group was gone. By the time the group broke up in 1975, the public barely noticed because The O’Jays seemed so perfectly positioned to pick up where The Intruders left off. Nevertheless, The Intruders’ place in history is secure as a pivotal and innovative group for a most pivotal time in America’s musical and social evolution.

- Carol Cooper, New York City, June 1995.

Originally Produced by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff except as noted

Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, PA
Engineering: Joe Tarsla
Legacy's Rhythm & Soul Series Director: Adam Block
Compilation Produced by Leo Sacks
Executive Producer: Tony Martell
Digitally Mastered by Tom Ruff at Sony Music Studios, NYC
Product Manager: Penny Armstrong
Art Direction: Tony Sellari
Packaging Manager: Marguerite Martakis
Essay by Carol Cooper
Chart Positions courtesy of Joel Whitburn and Billboard Publications
Photos: Sony Music Photo Archives

Special Thanks:

Jeff Jones and Stacy Drummond
The Intruders are: Sam "Little Sonny" Brown, Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards and Phillip "Phil" Terry

Music by MFSB
Eddie Green, Leon Huff, Harold Williams: piano
Victor Carstarphen, Lenny Pakula: organ
Dexter Wansel: keyboards
Ronnie Baker, Anthony Jackson: bass
Karl Chambers, Charles Collins, Norman Farrington, Earl Young: drums
David Bay, Ronald Chambers, Bobby Eli, Michael “Sugar Bear" Forman, Dennis Harris, Norma Harris, Reginald Lucas, Bunny Sigler, T.J. Tindall: guitars
David Cruse, Larry Washington: conga and bongos
Vince Montana: vibes
Zach Zachary: alto saxophone solos
Tony Williams: saxophone/flute
Don Renaldo and his strings
Sam Reed and his horns

TSOP: The Sound Of Philadelphia ™

"The eyes of the Creator are on man, viewing man's treatment of his young ... animals, lower forms of life, treat their children better than man ... animals educate their young to exist in the environment, man does not ... animals protect their young ... man does not.

"Man is supposed to be the highest form of creation, but man is confused! Our generation is the strongest and wisest and will be the last, if we don't ... 'SAVE THE CHILDREN' ... protect, educate and love ... protect, educate and love ... "

- Kenneth Gamble

"Your Body Won't Move If You Can't Feel The Groove" - Leon Huff
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Radio City Station
P.O. Box 1526
New York, NY 10101-1526


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