Album of the Week: The Intruders’ Cowboys to Girls (1968)

Remember as a kid when you used to chase girls and beat ‘em up? What? You don’t? Well, me neither actually. But this is a strange memory of the narrator in “Cowboys to Girls”, a lush dream of a track from The Intruders, an R&B group and early musical project for Philadelphians Gamble & Huff.

Though they would go on to write and produce bigger and better tracks, like “Love Train” and “Me and Mrs. Jones”, Gamble & Huff’s work on Cowboys to Girls has its own breezy charm. Reportedly from North Philly and led (originally) by the smoky voice of Sam “Little Sonny” Brown, The Intruders straddle the line between the harmony-heavy doo-wop of the early 60s and the smooth soul of the early 70s.

“Turn the Hands of Time” recalls The Supremes or Jackson 5 in its ecstatic chorus. Clocking in at under 2 minutes, “Sad Girl” is (perhaps too) short and sweet, rounding out the first side. In the second half we have the quite corny, yet cute “(Love Is Like A) Baseball Game”. Not really as great a metaphor/song as “Heat Wave”, but they can’t all be classics. I do like this brief version of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, which, although originally performed by Glen Campbell, I most associate with Isaac Hayes’ mammoth 18 minute version.

The Intruders would go on to release several more albums, which I have not yet heard at the time of this rating. But I recommend Cowboys to Girls to any soul/R&B fan looking for something slightly obscure (it is difficult even to find a high-res upload of the album cover) yet very smooth.

Listen to Cowboys to Girls here.

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