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The O'Jays 

Beautiful Ballads (Epic/Legacy)

The lights are low, the fire is crackling. You're sipping champagne while that special someone slides into skimpy lingerie in the next room. Whether you're a cad or just a cretin, you need tunes that will drape the night in satin and melt the furniture into rosebuds. And Epic/Legacy's Beautiful Ballads series has made the planning easy for you with its latest installment: a collection of the O'Jays' smooth Philly soul.

These Canton-bred kings of the '70s once rode their Gamble & Huff productions all over the charts. The band is best known for the burnin' funk nugget "Back Stabbers." But those lush string and horn arrangements -- which made the O'Jays seem so uptown -- can also be heard on the group's wealth of languid love songs. You and your baby will surely glide when slow dancing to the feather-soft "Let Me Make Love to You." And should you choose to cuddle on the couch, "Listen to the Clock on the Wall" is the perfect tender nudge to let her know that there's no time like the present. But no matter what your mellow moves, this sweet and sensual music will do your Valentine right. And like the Boy Scouts tell you, it's good to be prepared.

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