Forgotten Treasures

Forgotten Treasure: The Montclairs “Dreaming Out of Season” (1972)


R&B/Soul bands were a dime a dozen in the early 70s. For every Dells and Temptations, there was hundreds of groups knocking on the doors of record labels trying to get in the door. Many of them got a break and contributed a few releases, but the East St-Louis group The Montclairs were different and in a league of their own.

First of all they were led by a singular talent, Phil Perry, whose incredible range and powerful voice should have been noticed by a major label earlier and who later had a succesful recording career. They also had their own style, with almost doo-wop harmonies laid over complex arrangements and songs of lament that were suprisingly melodic and charged in emotion. Finally they released a full length LP, which is quite a feat for an unknown group of the times, especially hailing form St-Louis.

Dreaming Out of Season ranks up there with the great LPs of the era and should have done much better sales based on the strength of the two singles: Begging is Hard to Do & Dreaming Out of Season. The tracks perfectly represent what The Montclairs brought to the table with their rich harmonic sweeps and powerful string arrangements. I was hooked on these two tracks and bought the 45s, but when I had the chance to purchase the full album I quickly sold them and got to discover my favorite Montclairs piece that reached an even higher echelon of soul perfection.

Do I Stand a Chance is an ambitious 8 minute ballad that is absolutely stunning. Right from the start of the charged up introduction, Perry’s falsetto leads the way with strong storytelling lyrics to follow. The stellar arrangements (sampled by Alchemist) go from devastating stacattos that ask a question to mellow bongo led persuasive strums that perfectly complements the group’s delivery. It all culminates into a whirlwind of the most complex and beautiful harmonization I’ve heard in Soul music that stretches out for the remainder of the song and completely transforms and uplifts this monster track.

All Music Guide got it right, “The Montclairs recorded some fine heartache ballads in the early ’70s that deserved better fates than they got”. Give the album a spin and you will cherish this obsucre soul gem for years to come. You might find yourself getting over heartbreaks or simply shouting the falsetto at the top of your lungs, as I guarantee these songs will be stuck in your head for a while.

Discogs Link

DJ Asma

DJ Asma

A Montreal native with West-African roots, Antoine started developing a love for records when his father passed his collection of French, African, Caribbean and Brazilian classics onto him. Ever since, the collector turned selector has spent countless hours in musky basements both here and abroad (Dakar, Lima, Paris, Quito, Rio) in the never-ending search for the perfect beat!