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Pop Capsules : Melvin, Blue Notes Can Still Deliver

October 27, 1987|CONNIE JOHNSON

There are groups on the charts today who would love to dream up a classic as enduring as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me by Now," or a dance jam as memorable as "The Love I Lost."

Melvin himself might be a bit heavier around the middle these days than he was back in 1972, when the group scored its first chart record--the sultry, soul-drenched "I Miss You"--but last weekend at the Total Experience nightclub, Melvin and the fellas delivered an entertaining R&B revue to a mostly 30s-and-older audience.

Friday's hourlong first set might not have been on the cutting edge of hip, but it proved that the group can still cut it. This is the outfit that vaulted Teddy Pendergrass into the soul/pop big leagues, and while it now lacks a star player with his polish and charisma, the group is still the equal of many current soul/pop hitmakers.

The show was opened by the Chi-Lites, another R&B group that made its biggest impact in the early-to-mid-'70s. Still composed of its original three members, it offered a set whose high point was the plaintive "Coldest Day of My Life."

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