Philly's Super Soul Hits

This 15-song collection focuses on the commercial prime of producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and by extension the main entree of the prime of Philadelphia soul music. Every track was released between 1972 and 1975, and most of them were big hits. Just for starters, there are the O'Jays' "Love Train," "Back Stabbers," "For the Love of Money," and "I Love Music"; Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "The Lost I Lost" and "If You Don't Know Me by Now"; MFSB's chart-topping instrumental "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)"; Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones"; and the Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again." There are a few slightly lesser-known artists and hits too, chief among those the Intruders' "I'll Always Love My Mama" and People's Choice's "Do It Any Way You Wanna," as well as lower-charting items by Melvin and MFSB (and, for some unexplained reason, an LP cut by Melvin). There are wider-ranging anthologies of Gamble & Huff's Philly soul, particularly as this omits hits the Gamble & Huff team were behind outside of the years 1972-1975. But if you want a single-disc representation of the best of what Gamble & Huff's Philly soul was about, this is excellent, capturing their mix of funk, pop, and production sophistication -- and the talents of the fine artists they worked with -- on their best and most popular songs. ~ Richie Unterberger

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