Classic 60s/70s soul from the City of Brotherly Love, recorded before the Philadelphia Sound went International.
For the whole of the 1970s, the Philly Sound was a leading and immediately identifiable component of black American music. A crack team of producers, songwriters and musicians raised worldwide awareness of Philadelphia soul to the level the Motown Sound had enjoyed during the previous decade. Anyone with half an ear for music could spot a Philly soul record by its opening bars, whatever the location of the label on which it appeared.
In the same way the Motown Sound really came together after the company started recording almost exclusively in its own premises, the Philly Sound quickly took shape once Joe Tarsia, the former chief engineer at Cameo-Parkway Studios, opened Sigma Sound in 1968. There had been other notable studios in the city, such as Virtue, where the sound had been coming together under the auspices of those who would later play increasingly significant roles in its creation. It took a short time for the Philly Sound to come together but a lot of great records were cut during its evolution. Spanning the period 1967 to 1971, shortly before the establishment of Philadelphia International Records and the complete realisation of the Philly Sound, this new Kent compilation contains two dozen of the very best examples.
All the artists featured here played an important part in the development of the Philly Sound. While some – Moses Smith, for example – made just a couple of records, others such as George Tindley and Len Barry enjoyed lengthy careers, and non-locals Jerry Butler, Archie Bell, Peaches & Herb and Freddie Scott enjoyed hits with recordings made in other cities. For those who know only the Philly Sound hits of the 70s, this collection will prove to be revelatory. Those who go back a bit further will relish the chance to revisit some of the goodies that drew them to Philly soul in the first place. Many of the tracks have never been on UK CD before and some are reissued here for the first time. And as always, the booklet is stuffed with as many photos and illustrations as we could accommodate.