Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 17: Philly Soul / Philly Disco

So back in the 1960s you had Soul music—a terribly vague term encompassing a lot of things, but a designation that still gets used nonetheless. The industry was pretty fragmented during this pre-internet era, and pretty much every major city with a sizeable African-American population—Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, New Orleans, etc.—had a distinct local scene and sound. Philadelphia was no exception.

The Philly sound, pioneered by songwriter/producers like Thom Bell, Norman Harris, Ron Baker, Gamble & Huff, and McFadden & Whitehead, really came into its own in the mid-late 1960s, and was a marked contrast to the Motown sound that had typified the previous decade. Philly soul was more mature, more lyrically complex, less saccharine, and a lot bigger: horn sections, string sections, and even full-on orchestras took a front-and-center role in the Philly sound.

Philly continued to dominate soul music into the 1970s, giving the world acts like Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, The Delfonics, and The O'Jays. Around 1974, Philly producers started moving in a more dance-oriented direction; beefing up the kick drum in their records, focusing more on the bass line, and creating longer songs geared for the dancefloor. This was the birth of disco.

As the rest of the world moved on, inventing countless good and bad disco sub-genres, Philly kept its distinctive sound: pulsating, dancefloor-friendly records driven by big bass and lush string arrangements. This week's mixtape is a two-parter: a side of the earlier soul stuff, followed up by a good chunk of proper classic Philly disco.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 17, Side A: Philly Soul

  1. The Delfonics; Seventeen And In Love (Philly Groove)
  2. The O'Jays; Back Stabbers (Philadelphia International)
  3. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes feat. Teddy Pendergrass; Where Are All My Friends (Philadelphia International)
  4. Love Committee; One Day Of Peace (Golden Fleece)
  5. The Stylistics; People Make The World Go Round (Avco)
  6. The Delfonics; Round & Round (Philly Groove)
  7. First Choice; One Step Away (Philly Groove)
  8. Gloria Gaynor; Searchin' (Tom Moulton Mix) (MGM)
  9. Blue Magic; Welcome To The Club (ATCO)
  10. The Invitations; Living Together Is Keeping Us Apart (Silver Blue)
  11. Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes feat.Teddy Pendergrass; Nobody Could Take Your Place (Philadelphia International)
  12. Ecstasy, Passion, & Pain; Good Things Don't Last Forever (Roulette)
  13. The Three Degrees; Long Lost Lover (Philadelphia International)
  14. First Choice; Armed & Extremely Dangerous (Philly Groove)
Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 17, Side B: Philly Disco
  1. Double Exposure; Everyman (Danny Krivit Re-Edit) (Salsoul / Strut)
  2. People's Choice; Do It Any Way You Wanna (Philadelphia International)
  3. McFadden & Whitehead; Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now (Philadelphia International)
  4. First Choice; Love Thang (Tee Scott Mix) (Gold Mind Records)
  5. Double Exposure; My Love Is Free (Tom Moulton Mix) (Salsoul)
  6. Ecstasy, Passion, & Pain feat. Barbara Roy; Touch & Go (Tom Moulton Mix) (Roulette)
  7. First Choice; Double Cross (Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro Mix) (Gold Mind Records)
  8. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes feat. Teddy Pendergrass; Bad Luck (Philadelphia International)
  9. The Trammps; Can We Come Together (Tom Moulton Mix) (Atlantic)
  10. MFSB; Love Is The Message (Larry Levan Re-Edit) (Philadelphia International)
  11. First Choice; Let No Man Put Asunder (Shep Pettibone Mix) (Salsoul)
  12. The Trammps; Body Contact Contract (Tom Moulton Mix) (Atlantic)
  13. Blue Magic; We're On The Right Track (ATCO)
  14. Direct Current; Nothing Can Stop Us (TEC)
  15. Billy Paul; Only The Strong Survive (Philadelphia International)


  1. Listening to part 1...perfect for today!

  2. Here's a Philly/Salsoul Mix for you:

    And a re-edit of "Can We Come Together":

    Jay Negron

  3. not every thing from philly was good,
    however they certainly had the majority of dance toons of the time .

    lets remember there were s a few stand outs that could be truly called classics and many others that are mear fillers to be quickly forgotten .

    todays power house sound is superior to any krap noise any time ..

    every one think on this .
    why is europe and ibeza ahead on house -techno and dance and the u.s.a. is stuck with krap noise sounds???

  4. dear anonymous ibiza-fan,

    it is clear that you are astonishingly ignorant about dance music. The US (and UK) have always paved the way in dance music, and they still do. The overwhelming majority of great house & techno comes from the Western Hemisphere and the UK; mainland Europe has always been a few years behind.
    The music they play in Ibiza is mindless pablum for people who like drugs more than dance music.

    Do your homework dude...