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Maze

Combining a Philadelphia soul sound with a strong appreciation of Marvin Gaye, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was among the top R&B acts of the late '70s and '80s. The distinctive Maze and its charismatic lead singer, founder, producer, and songwriter Beverly didn't have many pop hits, but they were extremely popular among soul and urban contemporary audiences and enjoyed at least six or seven gold albums. Beverly was born Howard Beverly in Philadelphia, PA, on December 6, 1946; he started calling himself Frankie after hearing Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (a major doo wop group) when he was only nine years old in 1956. Before that, Beverly had been singing gospel in church, and it was Lymon who made him realize that he wanted to perform secular music. That isn't to say that Beverly's appreciation of gospel ever went away; the gospel influence remained when he was in his forties and fifties, but secular R&B would be his main focus. When Beverly was 12, he joined the Philly doo wop group the Silhouettes (who were known for their hit "Get a Job") and went on tour with them in 1959. Then, in the early '60s, he founded and led a short-lived doo wop/soul vocal group called the Blenders. After the Blenders' breakup, a 17-year-old Beverly founded another vocal group in 1963: the Butlers, who favored a Northern soul approach. The Butlers never became well-known nationally, although they did provide a few singles (including "The Sun's Message" and "She Tried to Kiss Me") and recorded for small, Philly based labels like Fairmount, Liberty Bell, and Guyden. The Butlers also recorded for Gamble Records, a small label that was named after producer/songwriter Kenny Gamble (who went on to co-own a huge R&B empire when he ran Philadelphia International Records with fellow Philadelphian Leon Huff in the '70s). It was in 1970 that Beverly founded the band that eventually came to be known as Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. Originally, Maze went by Raw Soul; using that name, it recorded three singles for Philly's small Gregar label in the early '70s (one of which was a cover of bluesman Taj Mahal's "Today May Not Be Your Day"). Although Beverly was born and raised in Philly, he has been quoted as saying that he never thought of himself as part of the Philly sound, and while his band does have Philly influences, it didn't fit into either the Gamble & Huff/Philadelphia International school of Philly soul or the Thom Bell/Linda Creed school (which the Delfonics, the Moments, and the Stylistics were a part of). Further, Raw Soul's sound owed as much to Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers as it did to any of the soulsters who came out of Philly in the '60s or '70s.

Feeling out of place in his home town, Beverly moved Raw Soul to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971. Raw Soul had been playing the San Francisco/Oakland scene for several years when Beverly's idol, Marvin Gaye, became aware of the band. Quite impressed by Beverly's singing and songwriting, Gaye sang Raw Soul's praises to Capitol and helped them land a deal with that major label in 1976. One thing Gaye didn't like about Beverly's band was the name Raw Soul. The late soul giant insisted on a name change and after considering a few other names (including Karma and Charisma), Raw Soul officially became Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly in 1976. (The name Karma wouldn't have worked because an obscure, L.A.-based funk/jazz outfit called Karma was recording for A&M around 1976-1977).

Maze's self-titled debut album was released by Capitol in 1977; that album (which contains the hits "Happy Feelin's," "While I'm Alone," and "Lady of Magic") went gold and earned Maze an extremely devoted following. The band's 1977 lineup consisted of Beverly on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Wayne Thomas on lead guitar, Sam Porter on keyboards, Ronald "Roame" Loary and McKinley "Bug" Williams on percussion and background vocals, and Joe Provost on drums. In 1978, Provost was replaced by Ahaguna G. Sun, formerly of a little-known soul/funk group called Sunbear; subsequently, Sun was replaced by Billy "Shoes" Johnson. There were other personnel changes along the way; keyboardist Phillip Woo (formerly of Roy Ayers' band Ubiquity) joined Maze in 1980, and Ron Smith was the guitarist who replaced Thomas. But regardless of who was coming or going, Maze always reflected Beverly's vision -- Beverly was to Maze what George Clinton was to Parliament/Funkadelic. 1978 saw the release of Maze's second album, Golden Time of Day, which contains the number-nine R&B hit "Workin' Together." Golden Time of Day went gold, as did 1979's Inspiration and 1980's Joy and Pain (the album that gave us the major hit "Southern Girl"). In the late '70s, Maze earned a reputation for having one of the best live shows in R&B and their first live album, Live in New Orleans (a two-LP set), came out in 1981. Another live double-LP, Live in Los Angeles, was released in 1986, which was the year after Maze's funky "Back in Stride" reached number one on Billboard's R&B singles chart and became their biggest hit ever.

In 1989, Maze left Capitol for Warner Bros. and recorded Silky Soul; the title track, an ode to Marvin Gaye, was a major hit. By that time, Maze was receiving a lot of attention from the rap world -- their recordings were being sampled extensively by hip-hoppers. In 1988, rapper Rob Base used the chorus of Maze's "Joy and Pain" on a single that had the same title -- unfortunately, Base did so without permission and Beverly threatened legal action. Maze didn't enjoy many hits in the '90s, although their live shows continued to be well-received by a very devoted fan base. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
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Comments

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Frankie Beverley is one strong artist whom I have personally enjoyed all my life.
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I could listen to maze and Frankie Beverly all day by themselves. .....
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Greatest
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reet2000
One of the best!!!!!
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Baby. I truly do love. U. all we been. Through and U stuck by me . Thank you, for all you have. done 4 me We are one ! 3 cords made of a strong. rope with. Jesus. in the middle ; makes us hole. PBJ 4 Life. I Love. U all ways your Donny. and I promise. Baby I'll. Never let. You down.
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OK! Good Job! Pandora, please play more maze and Frankie Beverly.
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lyzhon
Thank God at 60 still here. Bless You Alp
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Theses sounds never gets old.....alwa y s and forever
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Caught Maze and Gerald Levert and Joe at the Southern Heritage concert some years ago.... Simply wonderful!!! ! ! ! !
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FiveLandry your the best there is
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Fo, show old school music and little WoodStock .
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Those were the good good times in my life
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The Categories that Maze & Frankie Beverly are associated is astounding, due to there diversity of fans across the world globe, what you put out is what you get back, Positivity, Joy, Love, and most of all an Abundance of Blessing to the World. Thank you Marvin Gaye for bring us Maze & Frankie Beverly they have inspired me in so many ways as did you. God Is Love and Love Is Maze & Frankie Beverly.
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I can recall nothing but good times whenever I hear this song. I've never been to a bad MAZE concert!!! I've sat in the rain on a muddy hill at Poplar Creek loving every minute of the music of MAZE w/good friends, good music! Good times!!!!
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Ba ba ba Ba ba ba ba ba
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Family Gathering weren't right until this song came on.... Great times with my family & friends I truly miss it... Rip Earl DeLoatch I love Brova rest easy with the Lord
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They don't make music like this anymore.
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teesie3245
I love maze..
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The BEST!!!!!!
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Know that's music & i grow up on it still available to listen to it. ...
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I love the song
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I grew up listening to this group. To this day im loving maze and frankie beverly.
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Good music,l,Me,m y s e l f , a n d Detroit love you.
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Real talk!!
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Ummmm
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Reminds me of Louisiana
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Listen to them everyday.
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REAL MUSIC! I haven't felt that way in a long time!
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nrivers16
:*:*:*:*;P
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fayeiswhoiam
Whoever wrote this review obviously does not know Frankie Beverly and Maze. They may not have had a hit in years but they can still pack a house or event. They will always be popular with steppers and people who really love music. From the first note you know without a doubt it is Frankie Beverly and Maze and you know it is going to be a great song.
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Frankie Beverley is the Silky Soul singer....Ma z e fan for life....
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Their music never age. I love Frankie B and Maze.
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marcieredmon d
I love this man!!!!
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This is so nice I love it .
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No matter when you hear Maze that's what's happening to us it's there mazes we all get in because we are one
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msdeelight19 5 9
Smooth sounds always gets the mood started .
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I love maze
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yeah this is it right here........ N e w Orleans love you Maze!!!!!!!
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Been jamming Frankie for over 30 years. I love you
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I love always and forever .
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tsteeley60
Have a lot of love for yall Frankie
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LOVE YOU FRANKIE!
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I Love U.
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Go fo it
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Love from Grenada ,miss 38901 my life Born
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Sam daddy o is looking. For a southern girl
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I love this music. The beat.
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I love his music
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These brothers are soooo underrated. Love their music
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Luv luv this song.
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