Hearts of Soul trace their roots back to the early 1950s when teenager John Myers and his brothers formed The Echoes. Still in high school, by 1955 The Echoes were veterans of the touring circuit, as well as having recorded some unreleased material and done backing vocals for a number of artists. Their manager Fred Logan arranged for an audition with Atlantic Records, but they ended up signed to Savoy Records, which promptly insisted on renaming the group The 5 Pennies (a curious choice given there were six members). With various line-up changes, Myers and The 5 Pennies also recorded material as The Chimes, and The 4 Jokers.
By the mid-'60s Myers was living in Tampa, Florida where he formed The Larks. The original line-up featured Myers, Clemon Davis (bass), Lindsey Griffin (tenor and baritone), Rudolph Hill (tenor), lead singer Floyd Lawson. By 1966 the group was known as The 4 Pennies, featuring lead tenor Carl Cutler.
By 1970 they were performing as Hearts of Stone, which led to a recording contract with Motown's V.I.P. subsidiary. Teamed with producer/arranger/writer Henry Cosby, all hyperbole aside,1970's "Stop the World - We Wanna Get On" stands as one of the most overlooked albums on the Motown imprint. Featuring a mixture of group originals (several co-written by Cosby) and an eclectic mix of covers, these guys were simply stunning. Lawson may have been the lead singer, but the other three members were equally talented and their group harmonies were equally impressive.
I'll readily admit it didn't have that instantly identifiable Motown sound, but the breezy, mid-tempo 'If I Could Give You the World' was still a wonderful performance. More shag, than Motown, it isn't hard to picture yourself dancing to this one on a summer evening at a beach. Besides, how many Motown acts can you think of who wrote their own material? How many wrote material as good as this one?
Here's a link to a YouTube clip of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwzacpePlRI