When you think about the great R&B record labels of all-time, Motown, Stax, and Atlantic come to mind first. But Philadelphia International Records led by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff have earned the right to be included in that illustrious class. They along with songwriters like Thomas Bell, Bobby Martin, and Instant Funk created “Philly Soul” and established a label to showcase their style. Their sound influenced disco, smooth jazz, modern R&B, and was unlike anything else on the radio. What stands out from the era was that not many “superstars” arose from Philly Soul. It was a time of major production with huge string arrangements, horn sections, and dynamic vocals wrapped around beautifully written songs.
Philly Soul has such a different feel that other rhythm and blues songs. There is an epic feeling hearing those lush productions on a Gamble & Huff song. You’d hear a soft string section combined with funky horns on the same song. You need strong and dominant singers to hold up to the major instrumental backing tracks. Eddie Levert, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti Labelle, Billy Paul (Me And Mrs Jones), and Lou Rawls were a perfect fit for the music label. I LOVE PHILLY SOUL! So heartfelt and honest, these songs make such an impact, unforgettable lyrics and melodies. Take a trip down memory lane…..
“LOVE T.K.O.” TEDDY PENDERGRASS
“USED TA BE MY GIRL” THE O’JAYS
“I’M NOT IN LOVE” (the original) DEE DEE SHARP
“YOU’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER LOVE LIKE MINE” LOU RAWLS
“WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN” THE THREE DEGREES