Two Headed Monsters by Butch Ford
As I sit here reminiscing about days long since passed (I’m just nostalgic that way). I began to hum a few classic oldies but goodies to myself, which brought about a debate I had with some friends a while ago. The conversation was about…who we believed the greatest “One-Two Punch” in R&B history was.
The 70’s and 80’s brought about some undeniable timeless pieces…delivered by some of the most gifted & phenomenal singers. And by “One-Two Punch” I mean a duo or tandem within a group or band that brought different flavors or elements to the music (within that unit) that we all grew to love. The three choices that were mentioned most were: The O’Jays, The Whispers and Earth Wind & Fire. Let’s settle this once and for all.
First was the O’Jays, with the sweet, smooth silkiness of Walter Williams, in direct contrast with the rugged, I didn’t come here to fuck around with y’all, begging & pleading delivery of Eddie Levert. Great choice. Next, was the identical twins Walter and Wallace (Scotty) Scott from The Whispers. It was magical…almost mystical how they seamlessly and effortlessly dazzled us by swapping lines and alternating powerful individual lead parts with flawless, deceptive unison. Can’t argue that choice either. Then there’s Earth Wind & Fire’s co-lead vocalists, the incomparable Maurice White (baritone) and the dynamic Philip Bailey (1st tenor) who provided another whirlwind “two headed monster” worthy of being crowned the greatest of all time, as well. EWF’s genius touched our spirits and souls on some other level. Didn’t it? To be honest, you can’t go wrong with either of these choices. BUT WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE TANDEM??? And why? Is it one of the groups mentioned above? Or are we sleeping on some folks?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Hutchinson sisters, Wanda and Sheila of The Emotions; Bobby Smith and Phillipe Wynne of The Spinners; Ron Banks and LJ Reynolds of The Dramatics & Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin of Chic…who were all spectacular in their own right. And if there’s anyone else I failed to mention, it’s probably because they had one primary lead vocalist during their run, which doesn’t qualify them as a tandem. So…no shade intended towards anyone whatsoever.
But I’d like to know everyone else’s thoughts. Who do you believe the greatest One-Two Punch in R&B History is? Let’s have some fun with this.