We dive into two hours of the sunniest R&B, soul and disco from Leon Sylvers III and the family that did it best.
This month, our host DJ Soul Sister gets into the world of the Sylvers family, one of the most popular R&B vocal groups of the ’70s. While the nine-strong sibling ensemble employed different lineups throughout its career, the family’s sunny soul style, aptly helmed by multi-instrumentalist and producer Leon Sylvers III, would usher in the soulful boogie to come in the ‘80s. The show also features rare productions for other artists led by Sylvers members.
The Sylvers - Reach Out (1981)
Produced by Leon Sylvers III and Foster Sylvers. Written by Charmaine Sylvers and Dynasty’s Nidra Beard. Appears on Concept on Solar Records.
The Sylvers - We Can Make it If We Try (1973)
Written by Leon Sylvers III, and included on Sylvers II, the group’s second album on Pride Records.
Foster Sylvers - Misdemeanor (1973)
Featured on little brother Foster’s debut solo album, released on MGM before he joined his siblings in The Sylvers. Written by Leon Sylvers III.
Leon Sylvers III - World Champion (1983)
This song, from the film soundtrack of D.C. Cab, presents Leon Sylvers III as solo artist, featuring production from Edmund Sylvers.
Krystol - After the Dance is Through (1984)
One of several non-Sylvers groups to benefit from production work by Leon Sylvers III, who also serves as vocal arranger on this song. Released on Epic Records.
Shalamar - Over and Over (1983)
The group Shalamar enjoyed several Solar Records hits that were written and/or produced by Leon Sylvers III. Here’s one of those singles, which came from the group’s The Look release.
Gene Page - Love Starts After Dark (1980)
Famed Barry White collaborator Gene Page is assisted by the Sylvers on this single, which was written by Leon Sylvers III and features Charmaine Sylvers on vocals.
The Sylvers - Cry of a Dreamer (1973)
Written by Leon Sylvers III. From Sylvers II.
Carrie Lucas - Show Me Where You’re Coming From (1982)
Produced by Leon Sylvers III for the album, Still in Love.
S.O.S. Band - Groovin’ (That’s What We’re Doin’) (1983)
While the S.O.S. Band boasted no Sylvers family members, the S.O.S. Band’s third album, titled III, was executive produced by Leon Sylvers III, co-produced by Ricky Sylvers, and even dedicated to “Rachel Yvonne Sylvers, Holly and Ricky Sylvers’ new ‘bundle of joy.’” This song was co-written by Charmaine Sylvers.
Foster Sylvers - Only My Love is True (1973)
From Foster’s self-titled debut album.
The Sylvers - Take it to the Top (1981)
From the Solar Records release, Concept. Produced by Ricky Sylvers and written by Charmaine Sylvers.
The Spinners - Keep On Keepin’ On (1984)
The Spinners’ 17th album, Cross Fire, featured contributions from Leon Sylvers III, Ricky Sylvers, and James Sylvers. For this song from the album, Leon is featured as co-producer, co-writer, and vocal arranger; and Ricky assists with rhythm arrangements and drum programming.
Dynasty - Satisfied (1979)
Released on Solar Records, where Leon Sylvers III was the in-house producer. For this song’s album, Your Piece of the Rock, he produced and co-wrote all songs, and also played bass and drums.
Midnight Star - Make it Last (1980)
For the group’s debut album, released on Solar Records, producer Harvey Mason was used on all songs except for this one, which was produced and co-arranged by Leon Sylvers III.
Gladys Knight & the Pips - When You’re Far Away (1983)
Written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, formerly of The Time, but produced by Edmund Sylvers. Vocal arrangements by Leon Sylvers III with Jam and Lewis.
Edmund Sylvers - You Can Talk About Leaving (1980)
Edmund Sylvers left his duties as lead singer of The Sylvers to start a solo career. The album Have You Heard on Casablanca Records, where this song appears, features no other involvement from his siblings.
Real to Reel - Treat Me Like She Does (1983)
The 12” single sleeve for this song boasts, “Master producer Leon Sylvers’ great new discovery Real to Reel.” The B-side, “Candy,” was produced by Leon Sylvers III and Pat Sylvers.
Janet Jackson - The Magic is Working (1982)
Janet Jackson’s self-titled debut featured lots of Sylvers involvement. This song was co-produced by Foster Sylvers, and features Leon Sylvers III on bass, Edmund Sylvers on percussion, and Pat Sylvers on backing vocals. Another of the album’s songs, “Come Give Your Love to Me,” was co-written by Charmaine Sylvers and produced by Foster Sylvers.
The Whispers - In the Raw (1980)
Co-written by Charmaine Sylvers, and co-produced by Leon Sylvers III and Ricky Sylvers with The Whispers for their album, Love is Where You Find It, for Solar Records.
Brothers Johnson - You Keep Me Coming Back (1984)
Co-written and produced by Leon Sylvers III for the album Out of Control, released on A&M Records.
Shalamar - Talk to Me (1981)
From the album Go For It comes this number produced by Leon Sylvers III, who also produced and played bass and percussion on several cuts on the album. Other Sylvers members featured on the Go For It album include Foster Sylvers on bass, Ricky Sylvers on guitar, and Pat Sylvers on keyboards.
S.O.S. Band - Can’t Get Enough (1982)
This song, co-written by Charmaine Sylvers, was included on the S.O.S. Band’s third album, entitled III, which was executive produced by Leon Sylvers III and co-produced by Ricky Sylvers.
Foster Sylvers featuring Pat & Angie Sylvers - Stubborn Kind of Fella (1974)
Foster Sylvers and his sisters do a funkier cover of the Marvin Gaye original for Foster’s second album, released on MGM Records.
Glenn Jones - Finesse (1984)
This title track of vocalist Glenn Jones’ debut full-length album was produced and co-written by Leon Sylvers III. Sylvers also produced several other cuts on the album.