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Al Goodman, R&B singer; member of the Moments, 67

Al Goodman (center) with Harry Ray and Billy Brown in 1980. Al Goodman (center) with Harry Ray and Billy Brown in 1980. (Gems/Referns via Getty Images)
By Dennis Hevesi
New York Times / July 31, 2010

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NEW YORK — Al Goodman — the soothing bass in the chart-topping rhythm-and-blues trio the Moments (later renamed Ray, Goodman & Brown), best known for the 1970 hit “Love on a Two-Way Street’’ — died Monday in Hackensack, N.J. He was 67 and lived in Englewood, N.J.

The cause was heart failure.

To the intertwined falsettos of Billy Brown and Johnny Moore, Mr. Goodman set the foundation for “Two-Way Street,’’ a slow ballad about heartbreak. “I found love on a two-way street, and lost it on a lonely highway,’’ the Moments sang, all the way to number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number three on the pop chart.

“This is one of those transitional tight-harmony love-ballad groups from the ’60s that paved the way out of the doo-wop era to become one of the leaders of R&B for nearly two decades,’’ said Terry Stewart of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. “They continued in the classic soul tradition and often had a presence on both charts, as both the Moments and Ray, Goodman & Brown.’’

Within months of “Two-Way Street,’’ their first million-seller, Moore was replaced by Harry Ray, and the Moments went on to record “All I Have,’’ which reached number nine on the R&B chart and No. 55 on the pop chart. A year later their “Sexy Mama’’ was number three R&B and number 17 pop.

Creative tensions prompted the Moments to leave Stang in 1979, but because the label owned the rights to the group’s name they became Ray, Goodman & Brown. (Mark Greene, an original member of the Moments, later reclaimed the name for a group of his own.) They signed with Polydor and soon came out with “Special Lady,’’ which hit number one R&B and number five pop.

They had many hits.

“Carrying a resume of 28 R&B and 11 pop charters as the Moments, along with nine R&B and three pop charters as Ray, Goodman & Brown, this dual-named trio left a noticeable mark on contemporary soul music,’’ Jay Warner wrote in “The Billboard Book of American Singing Groups.’’