The Manhattans are one of soul’s greatest vocal groups … with a longevity envied by many. Sadly, however, their work is really only well known by committed soulsters, so, hopefully, this new 2 CD reissue set might help them get the respect and recognition they rightly deserve. The first CD in the pack comprises the band’s classic 1976 eponymous Columbia album – the one that spawned the huge hits ‘Kiss And Say Goodbye’ and ‘Hurt’ and which gave them their big moment in the limelight. Produced by Philly veteran, Bobby Martin, the album is a wonderful manifestation of the classic, sweet Philly soul sound and apart form the hits there’s a great version of EWF’s ‘Reasons’ and a lovely, light beater in the form of ‘Searching For Love’. The disc also features three bonus cuts – one of which is a radio interview with the band. The pack’s second CD features the group’s 1980 ‘After Midnight’ LP which includes another million seller in the shape of the Leo Graham produced ‘Shining Star’. Other highlights include the simply beautiful ‘It’s Not The Same’ and the ultra catchy Lambert/Potter ditty ‘It Couldn’t Hurt’. In truth, across both albums there just aren’t any duds… it’s sweet, sweet Philadelphia soul all the way and if that’s your bag the collection is unmissable. As we implied up top the reissue is a great testament to a wonderful group… or should we say TWO groups! You see, there seems to be two sets of Manhattans still gigging and recording. One is led by original member Edward Sonny Bivens and the other by long term members Blue Lovett and Gerald Alston (their line up also features Ron Tyson’s brother, David, by the way). Whatever, it’s impossible to believe that either incarnation will ever recapture the magic of these two LPs.