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Maze & Frankie Beverly

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Workin' Together

2. Golden Time Of Day

3. Feel That You're Feelin'

4. Southern Girl

5. Running Away

6. Joy & Pain

7. Before I Let Go

8. Love Is The Key

9. Never Let You Down

10. We Are One

12. Back In Stride

13. Too Many Games

14. I Wanna Be With You

16. Can't Get Over You

17. Silky Soul

x

Track List: Anthology

Disc 1

1. While I'm Alone

3. Workin' Together

4. Golden Time of Day

7. Southern Girl

8. Joy And Pain

Disc 2

1. Running Away

2. Before I Let Go

3. Love Is The Key

4. Never Let You Down

7. Back In Stride

8. Too Many Games

9. I Wanna Be With You

10. When You Love Someone

x

Track List: Golden Time Of Day

Comments

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Soul
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Music that soothes the soul
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Good music
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kellymac46
If your in town ,i will be there to see you. Always !!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! !
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Your songs light up my heart with so much inspiration and joy, I love you Beverly and Maze!!!! There is a single mother in New Jersey who simply loves your music!!!!!�� � That lady is me
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Soul
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We are one. Love is the answer.
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Hi Frankie,my name is Nicole.my dad and I love you and your music Everytime I listen to your music you inspire me to sing.god bless.do not sell your soul to the devil.
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ALL OF U HARMONIZED SO GOOD 2-GATHER. . I SURE DO WISH THAT I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY 2 C U N PERSON
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Great group, Frankie B blessed with a one of a kind voice. Harmonious music one of the best groups back in the day.
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Just makes you smile
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I'll never let you down. Yes!
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I say , THANKS- for the great music - so nice and smooth. Keep it up. Thanks.
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I love anything Frankie Beverly sings
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espaelease
Lady of Magic is my favorite!!!
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Frankie is the best love singer in the world. His music will never go out of style. His voice is one of a kind.
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I love you ken still much to much!
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I Love This Song!!!! Nice glass of wine.. Dancing nice and slow..mmmm
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Maze - My all time favorite musicians since 1970s. I still get chills when listening to their music. Timeless. Much Love.
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We are one..... yes MAZE....
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Great music
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Yes yes love him go franky before I let you go
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My favorite Time of Music wishing for summer days in the CITY.
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Ayyyyyyyyy
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Yes i enjoy the music but imlooking forward to listing to all the artist that your showing on on this page that the comments im writing you on now to thankyou
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Love you much too much! Yessssaa
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Oh yeah "
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THERE S ALWAYS ONE YOU CANT DRINK AWAY!!!
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logicplans
"You've giving me REASONS to love one more time....than k you for your love"! Yes! I'm relaxing right now! Love Frankie B!
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if you ask me what's my favorite musician form the 70's i would have said maze & Frankie Beverly or Luther Vandross
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pfair38
I love all their music !
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WE ARE1!!!!
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dragonlady60 8 8
MAKES U REMEMBER ALL YOUR BROKEN HEARTS
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dragonlady60 8 8
JOYYYYYYY AND PAINNNNNNN
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dragonlady60 8 8
My Fave song by maze and frankly could listen to this all day
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i9 dontbnrbgrjg r e
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dragonlady60 8 8
OUTSTANDING
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Frankie Beverly and Maze did a great show in Raleigh NC 05-06-2016. Seventy years old and can still perform without a break.
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It's nothing like old school music
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A sunny day got a black some drank and some good smoke reminds me of them summer's in the 80 in Watts Compton Long Beach enjoying life because the hood could get hectic at time R.I.P to all the loved ones from both sides and brothers in the penitentiary that won't see the outside I got you I sip one smoke one for you
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Silky smooth Frankie Beverly & Maze
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christopher1 2 4 7
We are one & before i let go 2 of my fav songs
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jamarjones92
Flawless God bless talent!!! This style of music will be around for eternity.
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Classic smooth sounds of Philly's own Frankie Beverly with Maze. Timeless Music!
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This is a sixty song
Call me
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We love u Frankie go 2 see him every year @ jazz fest n New Orleans
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pradierr
Go Frankie!!
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Soothing music for the soul
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H-town represent maze to the fullest!!!!
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What people didn't realize was that, Frankie Beverly is OUR ,,Marvin Gaye of the late 80s,an90s An 2000s!!!!, He will forever be Golden in the music World!!,, I can never get enough of the music He play's... Your sound easyies all my JOY an PAIN,,cause when I listen to you, I'm ready for that Golden time of Day!!!, Always loving you. Ricky Plunkett.
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