Sly, Slick & Wicked's musical journey defies belief; one single in the early '70s, one in 1976 that was re-released in the early '80s, then nothing until 1996 when they dropped Confessin' a Feeling, a CD on ITP Records. The Los Angeles-based group has no connections with a group with the same name based out of Cleveland that began recording around the same time.
The original members were Thomas Hawkins (aka Sonny Daye), Larry Lewis, and Donny Everhart. Daye, a native of Texas, founded the group in East Los Angeles in 1969. "Confessin' a Feeling" b/w "Love's Gonna Pack Up" on Bad Boys Records sold well in the southwestern part of the States, but was unknown virtually everywhere else. Their next single, "Tonight's the Nite came out in 1976; the same song came out again by them in 1981. It's possible Bad Boys released a couple more singles that went unnoticed. In 1981, Bad Boys Records re-released "Tonight's the Nite" with the hokey-sounding "We're Sly, Slick, & Wicked...Wicked" on the flip side; the A-side was all right, but side B was an out-of-character joke. Nobody talks about what happened between the long recording intervals, but they regrouped in 1991 to become a hot item on oldies shows in Southern Cali and other locales. From the start they modeled themselves after R&B groups like the Delfonics, Moments, Mighty Marvelows, Intruders, Masqueraders, Blue Magic, and Bloodstone. They broke out in 1996 with the Alan Beck-produced Confessin' a Feeling, a marvelous disc loaded with crisply done R&B oldies, featuring a live rendition of "Confessin' a Feeling." It quickly became an underground favorite. Daye sung all the leads, except for "Strange Feelings" (Larry Lewis) and the old Jive Five tune "What Time Is It" (led by Donny "Doc" Everheart). Eddie Stovall and Freddie Holiday supplemented the trio on backing vocals.
In 1999 ITP released a second CD, Tonight's the Nite. Titled after their old 45, it featured a second feast of immaculately done oldies including the Incredibles' "I'll Make It Easy," the Notations' "I'm Still Here," the Moments' "Not on the Outside," and Betty Everett's "There Come a Time." The original version of "Tonight's the Nite features Ron Crowder with Daye, and Freddie Lewis sings the falsetto lead on "Not on the Outside" and Eddie Holman's "This Can't Be True" while Larry Lewis does the Younghearts' "(Me and You) You and I" and "I'm Still Here." The group that took its name after Lost Generation's hit "Sly, Slick & Wicked" most certainly deserves the title "The Kings of Underground Oldies." ~ Andrew Hamilton