It seems that rights ownership issues continue to prevent any distributor from pulling together a truly definitive "best of" or "greatest hits of" compilation covering this Detroit vocal quartet consisting of Julius Green, Robert Phillips, John Gary Williams and William Brown (although the last two were replaced at one stage by Sam Nelson and Quincy Clifton Billops, Jr.). And that's too bad because, even though they'll seldom be mentioned in the same breath as the more prominent Motor City gatherings like The Miracles, Temptations or Four Tops (likely because their three Billboard Pop Hot 100 cross-overs were such minor entries that they don't even rate mention as a One-Hit Wonder in most retrospectives of that ignominious gathering of recording artists), they did have a nice, tight harmonious sound that, upon hearing them for the first time, will have you scratching your head as to why they didn't have greater success.
This 2003 release from Stax U.K. does provide their first five charted singles and their B-sides for Volt, but due to the rights to their music having been split between Atlantic and Fantasy about May 1968, their last two charted songs in late 1968 and summer 1969 are omitted. The set kicks off ith their first release, which also happened to be their first hit as well, when I Don't Have To Shop Around got as high as # 11 R&B in October/November 1965, but couldn't capture any real attention on the more lucrative Billboard Pop Hot 100, finishing at a disappointing # 93 on Volt 127 b/w Tear-Maker (track 13). The follow-up I Want Someone did even better on the R&B listings when it peaked at # 10 in February/March 1966 on Volt 131 b/w Nothing Can Break Through (track 9), but once more the Hot 100 result was a low # 74. Their third release, however, was a total bust on both charts as Come Closer To Me b/w Sugar, Sugar (track 12) on Volt 135 failed completely.
They rebounded on the R&B charts in August 1966 when I Want A Girl (track 15) got back into the Top 20 at # 16 on Volt 137 b/w What Will Love Tend To Make You Do? (track 14), but it seems the Pop market had shunted them aside as it failed to make the Hot 100. Then, by the end of 1966, even the R&B audience was tuning them out to some degree as Patch My Heart (track 16) missed the Top 40 at # 41 on Volt 139 b/w You Mean So Much To Me (track 7). 1967 was a total bust as their only single that year, For These Simple Reasons/ I Don't Want To Lose Your Love (tracks 17 and 18) on Volt 143 in February failed to make either listings, and it wasn't until June 1968 that they were able to climb back into the R&B Top 40 with the # 31 Whatever Hurts You (track 20) b/w No Time Better Than Right Now (track 21). But hhe Pop charts still eluded them.
That was also the case in October when So Nice peaked at # 35 R&B b/w Make Room on Volt 4003, which was followed in July 1969 by their seventh and final hit single, a cover of By The Time I Get To Phoenix which hit the # 28 slot on the R&B charts and edged back into the Hot 100 at # 84 b/w No Strings attached. Only these last four sides are omitted from this set, but can be found in the June 1991 Stax release "Best Of The Mad Lads" - which does NOT contain any of their previous hits just mentioned! That volume does, however, contain their final Volt single, the non-charting November 1971 "Gone!" The Promises Of Yesterday/I'm So Glad I fell In Love With You (Volt 4068). So, between the two you can obtain all their key recordings. Tracks 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11 here are from their 1966 LP "The Mad Lads In Action" (Volt 414).
Billops would later experience the same indifferent Pop Hot 100 results as part of nine nationally-charted singles while a member of Ollie & The Nightingales and The Ovations.