The glory days for soul music in Philadelphia were the 70s, when the smooth orchestral Philly sound stood tall in the charts, and when writer/producers like Thom Bell, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were at the peak of their powers and when almost every soul singer and group travelled to Philly hoping some of the magic would rub off on them.
But this success didn’t happen overnight. Philadelphia was a major music centre long before, particularly in the late 50s when Dick Clark’s Bandstand TV show was the biggest in the US. This platform developed in the 60s as Philly consolidated its position as a key recording location for pop and soul.
This CD set traces the way disparate musical elements led to the ascent of Philly soul. Groups have always been central to music in Philadelphia and there are plenty of groups here, singing soulful doo-wop and gospel-tinged R&B as these styles led into soul. There’s rhythm and blues too, the odd pop tune and instrumental – all ingredients in the mix that became America’s favourite music in the 70s.
Soul lovers will find plenty to attract then here.. A very strong opening that assures the listener’s attention..Overall, a fine compilation and anyone with an interest in early soul music should take a listen.
Norman Darwen – Blues & Rhythm
Listen to this CD and you soon realize that Motown wasn’t made in a day, nor was the musical history of Detroit restricted to nothing other than Berry Gordy’s label. Most of the titles were previously unknown to me. The O’Jays and David Ruffin are unrecognizable, the Vandellas are getting on very well for now without Martha, Sammy Ward sounds like Lowell Fulson, Barrett Strong sings a penniless version of Money and Harvey Fuqua is just as wild as Billy Stewart.
Julien Cure – Soul Bag (France)