Category Archives: Philadelphia Soul

M.F.S.B.-UNIVERSAL LOVE.

M.F.S.B.-UNIVERSAL LOVE. Unlike Motown, books haven’t been written about Philadelphia International Records. That’s a missed opportunity, as there are many stories waiting to be told. Until now, only parts of the Philadelphia International Records’ story has been told. Many of those who played an important part in the rise and rise of Philadelphia International Records, haven’t had their story told. That’s …

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THE MANHATTANS-THERE’S NO ME WITHOUT YOU.

THE MANHATTANS-THERE’S NO ME WITHOUT YOU. Like so many other groups, success took time to come The Manhattans’ way.  Indeed, The Manhattans released seven albums before making a commercial breakthrough with 1976s The Manhattans. It was certified gold, and 1977s It Feels So Good and 1980s After Midnight repeated the feat. However, before their 1976 …

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THE O’JAYS SHIP AHOY.

THE O’JAYS SHIP AHOY. In August 1972, when The O’Jays’ released Back Stabbers, little did they realize how important an album it would become. Back Stabbers was certified gold, and fourteen years after The O’Jays were formed, were on their way to becoming one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful groups in the …

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THE BEST FIFTEEN BOX SETS OF 2014.

THE BEST FIFTEEN BOX SETS OF 2014. As anyone with a penchant for box sets knows, that box shapes come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the CDs or vinyl comes in a basic box, other times, the box set is luxurious and lovingly compiled. Examples of both feature in my list of the fifteen …

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THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 2.

THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 2 CRYSTAL WINGS-FIRST FLIGHT. The story behind Crystal Wings began in 1981. That’s when Crystal Wings released their debut single, Signs Of Winter’s Time. This was a Paul Coleman and Joyce Alicia Lagrone composition. It was recorded at Chicago’s Streeterville Recording Studio. Producing Signs Of Winter’s Time was Paul …

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THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 4.

THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 4. TERRY REID-RIVER. By 1973, Terry Reid’s contract with Mickie Most was over. Now Terry’s career could resume. He signed to Atlantic Records and began work on his third solo album, River, which was rereleased by BGO Records during 2014. Produced by Yes’ Eddy Offord and Tom Dowd, River …

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THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 5.

THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 5. GEORGE RUSSELL PRESENTS THE ESOTERIC CIRCLE. With Norwegian music going through something of a renaissance, it’s fitting that George Russell Presents The Esoteric Circle has reissued by BGP Records, a subsidiary of Ace Records. George Russell Presents The Esoteric Circle was one of the most important albums in …

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MEGA JAWNS-TEN LETTERS FROM HOME.

MEGA JAWNS-TEN LETTERS FROM HOME. From the day Bernie Lowe and Karl Mann founded Cameo Records in 1956, Philadelphia was on its way to becoming one of America’s musical capitals. Throughout the sixties, Philly’s reputation as a musical centre of excellence grew. This was in part down to a trio of songwriters and producers, known …

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THE MASQUERADERS-EVERYBODY WANNA LIVE ON.

THE MASQUERADERS-EVERYBODY WANNA LIVE ON. Although The Masqueraders’ roots can be traced back to 1958, they never released their debut album until 1975. That was the Isaac Hayes’ produced Everybody Wanna Live On, which was recently rereleased by Ace Records. Everybody Wanna Live On was the result of a long journey for the five Masqueraders. …

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DISCO RECHARGE-JOHN DAVIS AND THE MONSTER ORCHESTRA-NIGHT AND DAY AND UP JUMPED THE DEVIL.

DISCO RECHARGE-JOHN DAVIS AND THE MONSTER ORCHESTRA-NIGHT AND DAY AND UP JUMPED THE DEVIL.  One of the phenomenon’s of the disco era, was the arrival of the disco orchestra. Obviously, the best known and without doubt, best, and most successful was The Salsoul Orchestra. It was founded by Vince Montana Jr, in 1975 and played …

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PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL-THE COLLECTION 20 ORIGINAL ALBUMS.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL-THE COLLECTION 20 ORIGINAL ALBUMS. On February 13th 2014, Sony Music announced that it had acquired the worldwide rights to Philadelphia International Records’ post 1975 back-catalogue. At last, one label, Sony Music now had control of the rights to the entire Philadelphia International Records’ back-catalogue. This was progress. Maybe now, a proper reissue program …

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CAROL WILLIAMS-‘LECTRIC LADY.

CAROL WILLIAMS-‘LECTRIC LADY.  In late 1975, Carol Williams became the first Lady of of Salsoul. Carol, one of the original disco divas, became the first female singer to sign for Salsoul. At Salsoul Records, Carol worked with Vince Montana Jr, the man behind the rise and rise of The Salsoul Orchestra. With Vince at her side, Carol Williams disco …

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BLUE MAGIC-WELCOME BACK.

BLUE MAGIC-WELCOME BACK. In 1978, in an attempt to rejuvenate their career, Atco decided that Blue Magic should work with a new producer. So Skip Scarborough was brought onboard to produce Message From The Magic. Skip replaced Bobby “Electronic” Eli, who produced Mystic Dragons. However, a change of producer was just one of a number …

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BARBARA MASON-LOVE’S THE THING.

BARBARA MASON-LOVE’S THE THING. By 1975, Barbara Mason’s career was at a crossroads. Her previous album Transition, which was released in 1974, had failed to chart. Neither did the three singles World War Three, The Devil Is Busy and Half Sister, Half Brother. This was a long way from Babara’s debut for Buddah Records, Give …

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BLUE MAGIC-MESSAGE FROM THE MAGIC.

BLUE MAGIC-MESSAGE FROM THE MAGIC. By 1978, when Blue Magic released Message From The Magic, their career had stalled. Much had changed since they released Mystic Dragons in 1976. Two of Blue Magic’s original members had left. Vernon and Wendell Sawyers had left after Blue Magic’s fourth album, Mystic Dragons. It was the least successful …

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THE SALSOUL ORCHESTRA-HOW HIGH.

THE SALSOUL ORCHESTRA-HOW HIGH. The Salsoul Orchestra were formed in 1974 by members of Philadelphia International Records’ legendary studio band M.F.S.B. They left Philadelphia International Records after a dispute with Gamble and Huff over finances. Gamble and Huff’s loss would prove to be Salsoul’s gain. It’s fair to say that between their formation in 1974 …

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THE IMPRESSIONS-ABOUT TIME.

THE IMPRESSIONS-ABOUT TIME. For any group, losing their lead singer can derail their fortunes. In some cases, this can prove fatal. It’s a body blow that the group never recovers from. Especially when the lead singer happens to have written many of the group’s biggest hits. This was the case with The Impressions. Since 1960, …

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THE DETROIT SPINNERS-MIGHTY LOVE.

THE DETROIT SPINNERS-MIGHTY LOVE. When The Detroit Spinners signed for Atlantic Records and hooked up with producer Thom Bell there was a huge turnaround in their fortunes. Their first two albums, 1967s The Original Spinners and 2nd Time Around in 1970, hadn’t been commercial a success. Only 2nd Time Around had charted, reaching number 199 …

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MAJOR HARRIS-MY WAY.

MAJOR HARRIS-MY WAY. For a member of a successful group, it’s always a risk to leave and embark upon a solo career. Often, the success they’ve enjoyed becomes a distant memory. Conversely, the success they’ve enjoyed is often surpassed upon embarking on a solo career. Everyone will have examples when an artists decision to embark …

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WILSON PICKETT IN PHILADELPHIA.

WILSON PICKETT IN PHILADELPHIA. By 1970, when Wilson Pickett released Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia, his recording career was eight years old. He’d released his debut single If You Need Me in 1962, and since then, had enjoyed four number one US R&B singles. The first of these was his 1965 classic In The Midnight Hour, …

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