Vocal group from East St. Louis, Illinois, USA, named after a brand of cigarettes, comprised lead Phil Perry (b. 1 January 1952, Springfield, Illinois, USA), David Frye, George McLellan, Kevin Sanlin and Clifford “Scotty” Williams. The Montclairs were representative of the vocal group renaissance of the early 70s when falsetto lead and sweet-sound vocals were fashionable. The group recorded their first single in ‘Her You Don’t Fight It’ 1969 on Arch which was only distributed in the St. Louis area, and the following year began recording for bandleader/producer Oliver Sain at his Archway Studio. Sain arranged for the group to be signed with Paula Records, based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Their outstanding hits for the label were “Dreamin’ Out Of Season” (number 34 R&B) from 1972, and “Make Up For Lost Time” (number 46 R&B) from 1974. Their last chart record was “Baby You Know (I’m Gonna Miss You)” from 1974. Their only album, ‘Dreamin’ Out Of Season’, was released in 1972, with the track ‘Prelude To A Heartbreak’ (number 70 R & B) b/w ‘I Need You More Than Ever’ released as a single the following year. They also recorded other sides for the Vanessa, Premium and United International imprints. In 1974, Clifford Williams was drafted into the U.S. military and the group continued as a quartet. After the Montclairs left Paula in 1975 they disbanded.
Perry later worked as a session vocalist and established himself as a popular smooth jazz artist. In 1979, Phil Perry moved to Los Angeles, hooking up with producer Chuck Jackson who signed the singer to Capitol, along with Kevin Sanlin of The Montclairs, to form the duo Perry & Sanlin. Their first single reached number 81. They continued as songwriters and freelance producers. Perry issued his own debut LP, ‘The Heart Of The Man’, for Capitol in 1991 and has continued to release solo album into the new millenium.
The Montclairs (1972) - Dreaming Out Of Season (US Paula)
01 – Prelude To A Heartbreak
02 – Do I Stand A Chance
03 – Dreaming’s Out Of Season
04 – Make Up For Lost Time
05 – Beggin’ Is Hard To Do
06 – Just Can’t Get Away
07 – Unwanted Love
08 – Grand Finale
09 – Baby (You Know I’m Gonna Miss You)
The Montclairs (1972) – Dreaming Out Of Season (US Paula)
The Montclairs released only one album ‘Dreaming Out Of Season’ on Paula in 1972, however in 2001 UK Westside issued ‘Make Up For Lost Time The Paula Recordings 1971-1974’ which included the full Dreaming Out Of Season tracklisting in addition to a further 16 tracks.
The Montclairs (2001) - Making Up For Lost Time 1972-1974 The Paula Recordings (UK Westside)
1. Prelude to a Heartbreak
2. Do I Stand a Chance?
3. Dreaming’s Out of Season
4. Beggin’ Is Hard to Do
5. Just Can’t Get Away
6. Unwanted Love
7. Grand Finale
1. Ease the Pain
2. Out My Back Door
3. Dawn of My Life
5. Horse With Wings
6. I’m Calling You
7. Hung Up on Your Love
8. Make up for Lost Time
9. How Can One Man Live?
10. I Need You More Than Ever
11. All I Really Care About Is You
12. Is It for Real
13. Baby (You Know I’m Gonna Miss You) Pt. 1
14. Baby (You Know I’m Gonna Miss You) Pt. 2
15. Chase Scene Loop (Hung Up on Your Love)
16. Lounge Loop from Hell (I’m Calling You)
Here’s a selection of the top Montclairs tunes (MP3 links to follow soon). Also check out the previous post of their Modern Soul classic ‘Hung Up On Your Love’ along with Woody Cunningham’s 1998 updated cover version.
The Montclairs  – I Need You More Than Ever [US Paula 382]
An outing from 1973 on Paula (‘Prelude To A Heartbreak’ on flip). It also appeared on the flip to the 1973 UK release of ‘Hung Up On Your Love’ on UK Contempo CS.2036. Co written by Bobby Patterson.
The Montclairs (1973) - 45 - 01 - I Need You More Than Ever (US Paula 382)
The Montclairs (1973) - 45 - 02 - I Need You More Than Ever (UK Contempo CS.2036)
The Montclairs  – Hey You Don’t Fight It [US Arch ARA 1305]
The Montclairs (1969) - Hey You Don't Fight It (US Arch ARA 1305)
The Montclairs (2001) - Hey You Don't Fight It (UK Grapevine G2K 45-114)
Originally released on Arch 1305 in 1973, this terrific single is a UK 45 rpm reissue on Grapevine. The original issue, on the small St. Louis Arch label, fetches over $2,000 these days. The single appears at #18 in Kev Roberts’ most recent list of the 100 greatest Northern Soul singles.
The Montclairs  – Unwanted Love [US Paula]
Montclairs, The (1972) - Unwanted Love (US Paula 375)
A tremendous slice of crossover soul … check this out!