Hall and Oates – Do What You Want, Be What You Are [reissue]

January 01, 1970





When Daryl Hall first broke into the R&B club in the
mid-‘60s as the lead singer of the Temptones, the Philly boy was one of the
only white faces in the crowd.  But Hall
made heads turn with his soulful vibrato and quality songwriting prowess, which
helped him earn the company of future Philadelphia
soul architects Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and George Bell, recording a single
with the trio’s group at the time, Kenny Gamble and the Romeos. Shortly
thereafter he met fellow Temple University alum John Oates, let his hair grow
long, and began churning out some of the most well-known radio hits of the last
40 years – between 1980 and 1988 they charted five platinum or multi-platinum
LPs – as Hall and Oates.


Whether the duo dabbled in hippie folk, prog-rock, new wave
or adult contemporary, however, the core of their sound always remained the
soul music of their Philly roots, a trait that can be traced throughout the
thread of this career-spanning four-CD box set. With tracks dating back to
those Temptones days on through to a live collaboration from 2008 on a cover
The Mad Lads’ obscure Stax soul classic “I Want Someone” (featured on Hall’s
popular webcast “Live from Daryl’s House,” Do
What You Want, Be What You Are
is a most definitive look at the artistic
trajectory of this legendary duo, for better or for worse. In addition to the
gaggle of hits packed into this collection – “She’s Gone,” “Sara Smile,” “Rich Girl,”
“Kiss On My List,” “Private Eyes,” “Maneater,” “Out of Touch,” “Missed
Opportunity” and the rest of the usual suspects – you also get some seriously
deep rarities from all eras of H&O as well, including a gang of live tracks
from a previously unreleased 1975 concert performance at London’s New Victoria
Theatre, and “Don’t Go Out,” a strange, six-minute-long outtake from their 1980
smash album Private Eyes written by
Oates during his “art rock period” and inspired by Needle Park-era NYC.


Sadly, no tracks from Hall’s 1980 collaboration with King
Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp Sacred
make an appearance on here. But if this box proves to be a success,
here’s hoping we’ll see a Legacy Edition of that experimental soul masterpiece
in the not-too-distant future, because it definitely deserves to be
rediscovered. Or maybe even War Babies,
the duo’s 1974 foray into AOR produced by Todd Rundgren. (Anything but 1990’s Change of Season, which is terrible, no
matter how you slice it.) But if you are not some kind of OCD record geek, Do What You Want, Be What You Are will
prove to be – wait for it – “Everything Your Heart Desires.”


“Girl I Love You” (The Temptones), “Abandoned Luncheonette
(live),” “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on my List,” “Private Eyes,” “Missed Opportunity” RON



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