New Horizon Chairperson Joyce Meggerson-Moore is happy to be bringing the group back to the ‘Burgh.
“We looked at our budget and the groups that do good performances and don’t overcharge us because we’re trying to raise money to have our plays,” said Meggerson-Moore. “It was a good time for rotation in our lineup and they understand our mission. They have brought in new members and many of the members have been a part of the group for 20 years or more but people are going to hear the sound they recognize.”
Ray, Goodman & Brown got its genesis in Hackensack in the 1960’s with Brown and deceased members Al Goodman and Harry Ray. The group’s greatest successes came in the 1970’s with “Inside of You,”“Love On a Two Way Street,” “Look at Me (I’m In Love)” and “Special Lady.”
The song “Not on the Outside” was written specifically for Brown who worked at Ford Motor Company at the time. Brown said he was unable to get to the recording session and a group from Washington, D.C. recorded the song, to Brown’s dismay.
“I was in the bathtub and I heard the song, which was no. 25 in the country by the Moments,” Brown recalled. “I was angry.”
One night after work, Brown was at a bar that he frequented and the bartender told him that Larry Roberts was looking for him. He left the bar and once he returned Roberts asked Brown if he wanted to be the lead singer of the Moments.
“I said ‘yeah, right.’ Larry told me he’d pick me up the next morning and I still didn’t believe him. When he showed up, that’s when it hit me.”
Brown had his first show as lead singer of the Moments at the end of that whirlwind week. “I got $2,500 for that performance and I said “Oh, I like this.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The group changed its name to Ray, Goodman & Brown because of contract problem with their record company and had a string of hits throughout the 70’s like “Special Lady.”
“Special Lady was the last song we recorded for the album. We needed a filer and we said we have this song called Special Lady. We didn’t know that it’d be one of the biggest hits we ever recorded,” Brown said. “Most of our songs were written by the late Sylvia Robinson, Bert Keys or George Kerr. The lyrics of the songs are positive about what a woman would want her man to say to her. This is Black music. Our music. With White music, they don’t let their music die. But we Black artists, we are only as good as our last record.”
Ray, Goodman& Brown has been blessed to continue to draw crowds to their concerts despite shifts in the music business.
“This is a dog eat dog business but Ray, Goodman & Brown never thought they were above anyone,” said Brown who resides in New Jersey. “We’ve always taken time with people and tried to treat people the way we wanted to be treated because your fans are the people who make you. It is only by the grace of the fans that you are where you are.
“This business has changed. There are about three major labels left and it gets harder and harder but also easier and easier with the Internet,” Brown said. “If artists put their music out and people like them, they can get signed by a major record label.”