It '61 after Walter Williams and Eddie Levert first formed a group, and can not seem to surviving members About the founder & # 39; Jays decide to & # 39 they are about to share. Their new album is called The Last Word, and nearly 77, Levert believes that it is time to retire. "This is how the body tells me:" You do not need to do that intense choreography anymore, "he says from his home in Las Vegas" My knees are telling me that they can not accept it. ".
Calling from his home, as well as in Las Vegas, Williams is not so sure. "Perhaps, age wise it should be," he offers, "but the desire to continue what we have begun can continue for another two to three years. If we are still happy, and God continues his blessing upon us, I think we could be still around. "
If this is their last album, The Last Word, it seems like a good way to say goodbye – a reasonable update the sound that made the O & # 39; Jays major exponents of the famous planned sound soul, minted at Philadelphia International Records – but it will lead to a conclusion one of the most unusual car & # 39; sphere in the shower. According to the rules, they were divided 47 years ago, to single Backstabbers and love train to put them at the top of the chart, is worn down the 14-year-old car & # 39; EASURES without a big hit. Along the way, they tried everything to move to California to make a "beach music" for primarily white audience ( "playing with the Dave Clark Five and Sonny & Cher»), to risk their hand in Detroit: they rejected the deal of Motown, selecting instead of the label ex-wife Thelma Berry Gordy, and found that they lived in a boarding house, filled with future stars. "Wilson Pickett, March Reeves and the Vandellas, Edwin Starr, The Temptation," says Levert. "All artists are struggling trying to get a break. We watched as they all are successful, and we're sitting there so: "If it's our turn," It was a very intense moment. "
Philadelphia bosses Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff noticed a group at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, supporting act they have worked with this invasion. "They just jumped on our background in the Gospel," says Williams. "My dad was the director of the choir at St. Mark Baptist Church in Canton, Ohio, and Eddie and I sang in the choir. They saw and were able to benefit from this sound ".
Philadelphia International has been a tough environment – "We'd spend six months there rehearsing songs every day, as long as we did not know it back," says Levert, "as long as we did not know how to sing from their heart and soul. We wanted to record an album in a single day, 12 songs: start at eight o'clock in the morning, it will be done 10 or midnight "- and among artists, the competition of the best songs from the label's team of writers was February. "Especially with pictures they gave Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin & Notes Blue," laughing Levert.
However, O & # 39; Jays scored a string of impermeable hits – multi-samples For the love of money, plus Give the people what they want, and I love the music – and hired the famously tough choreographer Motown Cholla Atkins, to give them an advantage over their competitors on the label. "He would rehearse us seven days a week, eight hours a day; we had years before we got a Sunday off, "says Williams. "And it has helped us to have devastating consequences for all the other groups, even groups of Motown, we would have to beat them. Not to brag, "he adds. "Only the truth!"
Military precision Philadelphia does not exclude O & # 39; Jays experimenting. They followed their breakthrough in 1972 with the Ship Ahoy, a concept album about slavery, which they performed live, dressed in rags and chains. The title track, apparently still has the power to cause fear. "We really should have taken this song from the set a few months ago because it seemed to hurt people," Williams says. "Even black people were in shock. Black writer from Alabama really blew us to perform Ship Ahoy – it is just a friendly reminder of where we come from, saying that we should not go back to those days. "
Propensity O & # 39; Jays for social commentary makes it all the more surprising that their numbers among its supporters a Donald Trump, who first used for the love of money as the theme for The Apprentice – «I do not think he really listened to the lyrics, "laughs Levert – and then tried to use the Love train for his campaign rallies," Yes, he would like to change the words at the Trump train, "sighs Williams" We had to send him a cease-and-desist letter. "..
Moreover, he was the subject of the absolute last word following winners in the above law. "We are always talking about truthful things," Williams says. "At some point we called the Gamble and Huff messengers, and it's not such a bad name to wear. Tell the truth, to put a blow to him, so that people can enjoy to listen and feel the groove and understand. So, if you do not know, "he laughs," now you know. "And there he is, perhaps retired, perhaps not.
The last word is now!