from Jackson, Mississippi, who grew up listening to Ray Charles
and Nat “King” Cole and sang with The Carvettes
whilst attending Jim Hill High School.
They were popular locally, and recorded “A Lover’s
Prayer” backed with “You’re Never Gonna
Leave Me”, but their success did not translate to Chicago or New York.
Al moved to New York in 1962 and found work singing with The
Vipers and sound-mixing at All Platinum Studios, which was run by Joe and
Sylvia Robinson. It was here he
was “discovered” while singing at work. Sylvia hired him and Billy Brown to
replace Mark Greene and Richard Gross of The Moments in 1968. John Morgan was the only remaining
founding member of the group and he was soon supplanted by John Moore.
vaulted into the top ten on the R&B chart with “I Do”, and
it was only the beginning of two decades’ worth of hits. In 1970, they enjoyed the view from
the top of the R&B chart with “Love on a Two-Way Street”, a
cross-over hit that peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Harry Ray took
John Moore’s place and the group did not miss a beat, capturing the
#9 spot on the R&B chart and #55 on the Hot 100 with “All I
Mama” hit #3 and #17 on the R&B and pop charts, respectively, in
1973. In 1974, they reached #3
on the British chart with “Girls”, recorded in tandem with The Whatnauts.
Their appearance on Top of the
Pops helped further endear them to U.K. audiences, and this was cemented when
“Dolly My Love” and “Jack in the Box” became hits
across the pond.
and co-wrote much of their material, such as “Look at Me (I’m
in Love)”, which was a hit in 1975. Other songs he had a hand in writing
include “It Don’t Rain in My Backyard”, “I May Be
Right, I May Be Wrong”, “I’ve Got to Keep My Head”,
“Lady in Blue”, “Lovely Way She Loves”, “Sho ‘Nuff
Boogie”, “To You With Love”, and “What’s Your
In 1979, they
parted ways with All Platinum’s Stang Label
and signed with Polydor. All Platinum contended they owned
the name “The Moments”, so the trio billed themselves by their
surnames, Ray, Goodman and Brown.
They released a self-titled album to re-introduce themselves to
their fans with their new name, and immediately paid dividends for their
new label with the R&B chart-topping “Special Lady”, which
crossed over to the #5 on the pop chart. Their follow-up effort,
“Inside of You”, reached #14 on the R&B chart.
In 1980, they
released Ray, Goodman & Brown II. It cracked the Billboard Top 100 and
spawned a pair of hits, “Happy Anniversary” and a remake of
“My Prayer”, which had been a hit for The Platters. Their time with Polydor
was brief but productive: They
cranked out an album a year for the label, including 1981’s Stay and 1982’s Open Up.
In the 1980s,
they peppered the R&B chart with hits such as the title track from Take it to the Limit, which cracked
the top ten in 1986.
“Where Did You Get That Body, Baby?” was their last
chart success in 1988, although “Another Day” became a club
favourite in the U.K.
In 1988, they sang backing vocals on the CD, You’re All I Need, by Sarah Dash.
Harry Ray had
a stroke and died in 1992. He
was replaced by one of Luther Vandross’s
backing singers, Kevin “Ray” Owens. Thus, they were able to continue to
record as Ray, Goodman and Brown, as they did on 1992’s Live album. One of the album’s highlights
featured Al covering “Ebony & Ivory” by Paul
In 1994, a Greatest Hits package was released
and it was succeeded by The Best of
Ray, Goodman & Brown in 1996.
The Best Of album includes
several songs co-written by Al, such as “Each Time is Like the First
Time”, “Heaven in the Rain”, “How Can Love So Right
(Be So Wrong)”, “Pool of Love”, and “Slipped
Away”. It was a banner
year for Ray, Goodman & Brown fans, as they could also take home The Best of the Moments: Love on a Two-Way Street. In addition, Al composed music for
and helped produce 1996’s Pillow
Talk: The Sensuous Sounds of
Sylvia. Bearing his name on
the collection are “Didn’t I” and “Next Time That I
See You”. Lucky Me: A Golden Classics Edition hit
the shelves in 1997.
and Brown started their own record label in the 2000s, Defourovus
Music. They released two CDs in
2003, Intimate Moments and A Moment With Friends, which
comprises covers of some of their contemporaries’ songs: “Break Up To Make Up”
and “You Are Everything” by The Stylistics, “It Feels So
Good To Be Loved So Bad” by The Manhattans, and
“Sideshow” and “Three Ring Circus” by Blue
Magic. They also sang
background vocals on 2003’s The
Diary of Alicia Keys, which included the #1 R&B hit, “You
Don’t Know My Name”, and toured with the titular artist in
support of the album. The
mobile press junket included appearances on Ellen DeGeneres, Good
Morning America, Jay Leno, 106 & Park, The Vibe Awards, and The
live in concert in December 2006 at Club Inferno and Constant Spring Golf
Club in Jamaica.
A live CD and DVD were made available in 2007. In August 2007, they shared the
stage with Aretha Franklin at The Dell East.
background vocals and produced the 2008 album, Gerald Alston Sings Sam Cooke. Only
the Best of the Moments was released the same year.
2009, Ray, Goodman & Brown and Larry “Ice” Winfree entertained concert-goers at Plainwood Square Park, in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Al partnered with Keith Beaton, Darryl Hayes, Jerome V. Knight and
Wendell Sawyer in the establishment of Elegant Affairs Promotion.
In February 2010,
Ray, Goodman & Brown performed at The Arie
Crown Theater in Chicago, Illinois.
It would be one of Al’s last concert appearances. On 26th July 2010, he
died of a heart attack after having a tumor removed from his liver at Hackensack Medical Center.
His funeral was held on 2nd August 2010. He was buried in Maple Grove Park Cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey.
It did not
take long to see in what high regard Al was thought of by his peers. On 21st August 2010, Ted
Wizard Mills of Blue Magic covered “Not on the Outside”, an
early hit for The Moments and one of their concert staples, at Newark
Symphony Hall. A tribute
concert featuring Millie Jackson and The S.O.S. Band was held on 16th
April 2011, The Big Classic Soul in Paradise Al Goodman Tribute Concert
took place at the Paradise Theater in The Bronx, New York.
The concert included performances by Atlantic Starr, Black Ivory,
Blue Magic, Blue Notes, GQ Rahiem, Ladies of Sky,
Legendary Escorts, Legendary Intruders, Melissa Morgan, Persuaders Revue,
Soul Generation, and Alyson Williams.
They reprised the show on 10th April 2011 at Newark
Symphony Hall in Newark, New Jersey.
The Moments recordings
Jack in the Box (Al Goodman/ Tommy Keith/Harry Ray)
6146 318 (UK single)
Love on a Two-Way Street (Burt Keyes/Sylvia Robinson) (Uncredited Lyrics:
on the Outside, but on the Inside, Strong!)