Soul Serenade - The IntriguesThankfully, primary season is winding down. No matter who you support, or don’t support, you probably agree that we need a break from the level of vitriol that we’ve been experiencing for the last year or so. Yes, we’ll have to face it all again, and no doubt worse, when the general election campaigns kick into gear, but with the primaries nearly over maybe we can get a little break for a few weeks. Maybe.

After witnessing the agonizing contortions that the country has been going through it has finally dawned on me that all I can do is take care of my family, and make our lives as comfortable as possible. I guess it took getting married recently to make me realize this. So I’m declaring a moratorium on TV news in our house. There are a lot of movies to watch, and there is always a lot of music to listen to.

For me, there’s nothing like great Philly Soul to smooth the waters in a difficult time. So this week we’re heading back to Philadelphia to take a look at the Intrigues, and their 1969 hit “In a Moment.” It’s worth noting that 1969 and 2016 have a lot in common in terms of political rancor in this country.

The Intrigues

The Intrigues formed in Philadelphia in 1968. The group’s members were Alfred Brown, James Lee, James Harris, and Ronald Hamilton. In their first few years as a group they released small label singles like “Soul Brother,” which appeared on Toot Records. They didn’t have much success until Thom Bell came into their lives. No name was more synonymous with the rise of the Philly sound than Bell’s. By 1969 he had already written and produced a series of hits for the Delfonics, and would soon be doing the same for the Stylistics and the Spinners.

Working with co-producer Bobby Martin, Bell and the Intrigues came up with “In a Moment,” which was initially released on another small local label, Bullet Records. The single had some early success, and was picked up by Yew Records. The larger label helped to propel “In a Moment” up to #10 on the Billboard Black Singles chart, and #31 on the Pop chart.

The future looked bright for the Intrigues, but something happened along the way. The sad story of the promising group that has a big hit and then flounders has been told time and again. As it turned out, “In a Moment” was by far the biggest hit the Intrigues ever had. Their next single, “I’m Gonna Love You,” only made it as high as #86, and 1971’s “The Language of Love” only reached #100, although it did have some success on the Black Singles chart, reaching #21. More was expected from a single that was produced by Van McCoy.

Altogether the Intrigues released six singles for Yew Records and two for Janus Records before disbanding. Yew Records itself only released a total of 13 singles before folding in 1971. Their last single was the Intrigues “Mojo Hannah.” The Intrigues tried once more, reuniting in 1985 for the single “Fly Girl.” It would be nice to report that it was a triumphant comeback, but the truth is that the record failed to chart.

About the Author

Ken Shane

Ken Shane lives in Narragansett, R.I. He is a freelance writer and far and away the oldest Popdose writer. In fact, he may be the oldest writer, period. He wants you to know that he generally does not share his colleagues' love for the music of the '80s, and he does not forgive them for loving it. (Ken passed away in November 2022. R.I.P. —Ed.)

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