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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

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

x

Track List: Golden Time Of Day

Comments

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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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I love Frankie B
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my man always jazz In VA
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I love you Frankie!!!!
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A true talent that should have made it bigger
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Maze and Frankie Beverly's first album is my most favorite album of all times. I am your most devoted fan.��
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Robhenrybrow n awesome music for the soul
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I love you Frankie Beverly!!
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I love Frankie Beverly I love his music he is just awesome
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So beautiful, love it!
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Kaypeterson@ v e r i z o n . n e t
love you Frankie Beverly.
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I love you, Frankie Beverly.
Kay Peterson
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Yes lord you will always be my baby i see you every time you come Va and have each and every time
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GREAT LISTENING MUSIC
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God blessed you with you talent. I just want to Thank You.
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HA GOD BLESS U WITH ALL TOE JAMMIN MUSIC LOVE
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It doesn't get much better than "Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly�����
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Love it!!!!!
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tlynch914
Love Frankie B! Seen them in concert countless times and they always sound excellent. Can't wait to see them "again" this summer!
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dcwasme1
Thank you Mr. Howard "Frankie" Beverly for following your spirit. You have definitely fed my soul and spirit. Please don't stop giving us a part of your gift of song. Your songs are timeless. I love you �� ✌ ☝
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dominiquemil t o n
One of my favorite party songs.
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dragonlady60 8 8
Music to soothe the SOUL DEEP DOWN
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dragonlady60 8 8
Ty Frankie and MAZE for u
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After the morning is over than what��
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I love to listen to this kind of ��
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All love and soothing from the school of the 80's
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Good music!
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Love n Love Frankie Beverly & Maze! !!!!!
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reginawimber l y 5 0
������������
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dragonlady60 8 8
MAZE AND FRANKIE ARE OUTSTANDING. . S M O O T H
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SEE YOU APRIL 1ST
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I became a fan of maze in 1977 when my homeboy stump played the LP for me. From then until now I'm still a diehard fan i have every Lp and now CD's and live video's. They ever made the brothers are at the top of the old school sound. GOD bless you all. R.i.p mr. Williams.
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Frankie Beverly and Maze is the best. Tjey got me through a lot of hard times
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towncar2005
Has anyone ever heard Maze do the sound called Happiness?
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viskodimak
I can't believe this incredibly talented group never had a platinum album!??!!?? UNBELIEVABLE
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dragonlady60 8 8
Excellant
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Love Frankie Beverly*Maze . . ��
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I love Frankie Beverly & Maze
Smooth no silky
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Frank and maze is silky music lol
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Love the soothing sound of his voice & melody!
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Frankie Beverly's music is timeless. It actually sounds better as time goes by. I remember seeing Sam Porter (keyboards) in talent shows at Overbook Highschool. "Bro Jug "
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