Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Harptones

  • Love Needs [Ambient Sound, 1982] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Love Needs [Ambient Sound, 1982]
With their serious tempos and platonic quest, the Harptones are archetypal doowop purists: even 1953's "A Sunday Kind of Love," an acknowledged classic, failed to crease the national r&b (or pop) charts. On this uncompromising album they almost get away with it because Willie Winfield, now fifty-three and a professional funeral director, retains the virtually characterless sapling tenor of a half-formed youth. Absolutely lovely--too absolute, in fact. Only on Jackson Browne's "Love Needs a Heart," its lyric, melody, and vocal harmonies all touched with an uncharacteristically complex pain, do they achieve the transcendence they long for. Inspirational Verse: "Take this for what it's worth/I am yours, you are mine." B