Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Various Artists - Philadelphia International Records: The 40th Anniversary Box Set (2012)

UK Import

Last year, I picked up this pricey but extensive 13½ hour, 10 CD, wonderful box set from Philadelphia International Records. A gift from myself, to myself. Thanks, me.

From our friends at
There was neither one Philly sound nor one PIR sound. Picking five songs at random from five different artists will likely demonstrate the label's range from perfectly shaped soul-pop to progressive and experimental rhythm & blues, as well as its relevance beyond the '70s. It's a lavish treat for anyone with serious interest in the label, and it should manage to stun hardcore PIR fans as well. No one has done such a loving job with the entirety of the label's catalog.
A 60 page booklet is included with extensive liners, photos, and an essay from British soul music lover/journalist/record executive Ralph Tee.  Some of the information provided in the set is inaccurate; I've done my best to correct those mistakes below, but I can't make any guarantees as to the accuracy of my information.

The music writing isn't particularly complicated (usually just 3 or 4 chords), but the arrangements are extremely complex and that's what set PIR music apart from its competition. Once the strings, horns, and background vocals are added to these monster hooks, it's all hard to resist.  Not to mention that the PIR house band (M.F.S.B.) was first-rate as was the legendary in-house writing/production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff

When most of these songs were recorded, I was a pre-teen growing up in the West Texas desert which was nowhere close to Philadelphia geographically, culturally, or demographically.

View from my father's office, Odessa, early 1970's

Nonetheless, thanks to the immense variety of Top 40 radio at that time, I was already quite familiar with at least half of the songs in this set; the other half were a delightful treasure hunt for me.  I can't quite figure out the reasoning behind the sequencing; maybe they just pulled titles out of a hat?  This set is best experienced in full 10 disc shuffle.

20 tracks, 76 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1975Zach's Fanfare #2 (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1975K-Jee (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1973T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia) (Single Version)M.F.S.B. featuring The Three Degrees11
1976Message in the Music (Single Version)The O'Jays49138
1975Sexy (Single Version)M.F.S.B.4222
1975Let's Groove, Pt. 1 (Single Version)Archie Bell & The Drells
1972Back Stabbers (Single Version)The O'Jays31

1973The Love I Lost (Single Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes71
1973When Will I See You Again (Single Version)The Three Degrees24
1975I Love Music (Album Version)The O'Jays511
1973I'll Always Love My Mama (Single Version)The Intruders366

1973Year of Decision (Single Version)The Three Degrees

1975The Soul City Walk (Single Version)Archie Bell & The Drells

1975Bad Luck (Album Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes1541
1975Do It Any Way You Wanna (Single Version)People's Choice1113
1976Philly Jump (Album Version)Instant Funk

1975Take Good Care of Yourself (Single Version)The Three Degrees

1973Love is the Message (Album Version)M.F.S.B.85

1976Show You the Way to Go (Single Version)The Jacksons286

1976Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Album Version)The O'Jays721

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
When Will I See You Again

18 tracks, 76 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1972(Win, Place or Show) She's a Winner (Single Version)The Intruders

1972992 Arguments (Single Version)The O'Jays5713

1973Dirty Ol' Man (Single Version)The Three Degrees

1973Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back) (Single Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes586

1972Love Train (12" Version)The O'Jays11

1975Get Down with the Philly Sound (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1976Jam, Jam, Jam (All Night Long) (Album Version)People's Choice

1974A Nice Girl Like You (Album Version)The Intruders

1972If You Don't Know Me By Know (Single Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Tones31

1972Me & Mrs. Jones (Album Version)Billy Paul11
1975Wake Up Everybody (Album Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Tones121
1974For the Love of Money (Single Version)The O'Jays93

1975Don't Leave Me This Way (Album Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Tones

1975Livin' for the Weekend (Single Version)The O'Jays201

1976You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine (Album Version)Lou Rawls2141
1976Free Love (Album Version)Jean Carn
1975People Power (Album Version)Billy Paul

1977Nobody Could Take Your Place (Album Version)Dee Dee Sharp Gamble

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
Don't Leave Me This Way
Me & Mrs. Jones

20 tracks, 67 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1971You're the Reason Why (Single Version)The Ebonys5110

1971Days Go By (Single Version)Bobby Bennett

1973New York City's a Lonely Town  (Album Version)Dick Jensen

1975Stop and Think (Single Version)The Trammps

1974One Day of Peace (Single Version)Love Committee

1974The Devil Made Me Do It (Single Version)Robert Upchurch

1974Who in the World (Single Version)The Ethics

1972Do You Like the Way I Love (Single Version)The Ebonys

1975Never Let You Get Away From Me (Extended Single Version)Anthony White

1975I'm a Changed Person (Single Version)Kaleidoscope

1975If You Move, You Lose (Single Version)Carolyn Crawford

1973I'm So Glad I'm Me (Album Version)The Ebonys

1976Can't Believe You Love Me (Album Version)Bunny Sigler

1974You Bring Out the Best in Me (Single Version)Derek & Cyndi

1975Hey Baby (Single Version)Anthony White

1974Where Do We Go from Here (Single Version)The Trammps

1975Good & Plenty (Single Version)Carolyn Crawford

1973Yellow Sunshine (Album Version)Yellow Sunshine

1973To Be Happy is the Real Thing (Album Version)The Intruders

1973It's Forever (Single Version)The Ebonys6814

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
Never Let You Get Away From Me
Do You Like the Way I Love
Good & Plenty

18 tracks, 79 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1974Where Are All My Friends (Single Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes80811
1976Summertime And I'm Feeling Mellow (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1976Let Life Flow  (Album Version)The O'Jays

1976If You Wanna Go Back (Album Version)Jean Carn

1977It's Hard Not To Like You (Album Version)Archie Bell & The Drells

1978Party Time Man (Album Version)The Futures

1974Everyone's A Star (Album Version)The Intruders

1974Your Love is Good (Album Version)Bunny Sigler

1973The Whole Town's Talking (Album Version)Billy Paul

1976So Glad I'm The One (Album Version)Instant Funk

1975Keep On Lovin' You (Album Version)Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

1976Yes You Need Love (Album Version)Anthony White

1976It Ain't Reggae (But It's Funky) (Album Version)Instant Funk

1978(You're the One) Someone Special (Album Version)The Futures

1974Keep Smilin' (Album Version)Bunny Sigler

1976I'm in Love Once Again (Album Version)Jean Carn

1977The Whole Town's Laughing at Me (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass

1977Sooner or Later (Album Version)Billy Paul

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
It Ain't Reggae (But It's Funky)
The Whole Town's Talking
So Glad I'm The One

18 tracks, 71 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1975Let's Make a Baby (Single Version)Billy Paul8318

1974Now That We Found Love (European Single Version)The O'Jays

1976Blues Away  (Album Version)The Jacksons

1977I Believe in Love (Album Version)Dee Dee Sharp Gamble

1977Easy, Easy, Got to Take It Easy (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass

1978I Bet She Won't Love You Like I Do (Album Version)Jean Carn

1978Use Ta Be My Girl (Single Version)The O'Jays 41
1976Strength of One Man (Album Version)The Jacksons

1977See You When I Git There (Single Version)Lou Rawls668

1978Only You (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass
1979Intro/My Love Don't Come Easy (Album Version)Jean Carn

1976Come On and Dance, Dance, Dance (Album Version)Bunny Sigler

1979This Feeling is Killing Me (Album Version)The Jones Girls

1976Let 'Em In (Single Version)Billy Paul

1974Picture Us (Album Version)Bunny Sigler

1979Life Goes On (Album Version)The Jones Girls

1977Lady Love (Album Version)Lou Rawls 2421
1976Where Will You Go When the Party's Over (Album Version)Archie Bell & The Drells

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
Intro/My Love Don't Come Easy
Used Ta Be My Girl
Only You

18 tracks, 79 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1977The More I Get, The More I Want (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass
1976Stop and Think It Over (Album Version)Anthony White

1976Living Together  (Album Version)The Jacksons

1978(No, No) You Can't Come Back Now (Album Version)Jean Carn

1977You Can't Hide from Yourself (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass

1978(I'm Just Thinking About) Cooling Out (Single  Version)Jerry Butler

1977Only the Strong Survive (Single Version)Billy Paul

1978Use Ta Be My Guy (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1977I Don't Love You Anymore (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass4157
1980To Prove I Love You (Album Version)The O'Jays

1974Things are Gonna Get Better (Album Version)Bunny Sigler

1977Not the Staying Kind (Album Version)Lou Rawls

1977Holdin' On (Album Version)Dexter Wansel

1976Don't Let Love Get You Down (Album Version)Archie Bell and the Drells

1977Let's Clean Up the Ghetto (Single Version)The Philadelphia International All-Stars91426
1979You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else (Album Version)The Jones Girls38512
1979What's the Matter with the World (Album Version)Lou Rawls

1978When Somebody Loves You Back (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
The More I Get, The More I Want
Use Ta Be My Guy
Holdin' On

16 tracks, 79 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1976Life on Mars (Album Version)Dexter Wansel

1979Sonceré (The Infinite Hour Glass) (Album Version)Michael Pedicin, Jr.

1980Tight Money  (Album Version)Leon Huff

1971Compared to What (Album Version)Billy Paul

1974For the Love of Money (Album Version)Thad Jones & Mel Lewis

1973Something for Nothing (Album  Version)M.F.S.B.

1983Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)  (Album Version)Patti LaBelle

1980Manhattan Skyline (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1980In Good Faith (Album Version)Norman Harris

1974Reality (Album Version)Monk Montgomery

1998Forever with You (Album Version)Phyllis Hyman

1982My Favorite Person (Album Version)The O'Jays

1980I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin' (Album Version)Leon Huff

1980Mysteries of the World (Album Version)M.F.S.B.

1976Theme from The Planets (Album Version)Dexter Wansel

1975Malorie (Album Version)Billy Paul

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order):
Forever with You
Something for Nothing
Compared to What

16 tracks, 79 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1979Come Go with Me (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass

1978Don't Let It Go to Your Head (Album Version)Jean Carn

1981Mine All Mine (Album Version)The Stylistics

1983I'm in Love Again (Album Version)Patti LaBelle

1978Brandy (Album Version)The O'Jays7921

1979The Sweetest Pain (Album Version)Dexter Wansel

1978Ain't Got No Time Fa Nothing (Album Version)The Futures

1980When I'm Gone (Album Version)The Jones Girls

1979Turn Off the Lights (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass 482

1979I Can't Stop (Turning You On) (Album Version)Silk

1979I've Been Pushed Aside (Album Version)McFadden & Whitehead

1981We Got Some Catchin' Up to Do (Album Version)Jean Carn

1980Maybe It's Love This Time (Album Version)The Stylistics

1979Who Can I Run To (12" Extended Mix)The Jones Girls

1978Close the Door (Single Version)Teddy Pendergrass251

1980Children of the Night (Album Version)The Jones Girls

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
We Got Some Catchin' Up to Do
Don't Let It Go to Your Head
The Sweetest Pain

15 tracks, 80 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1979Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now (Album Version)McFadden & Whitehead13110
1979Was That All It Was (12" Extended Mix)Jean Carn

1979Bring the Family Back (Album Version)Billy Paul

1981Nights Over Egypt (Album Version)The Jones Girls

1983Put Our Heads Together (Album Version)The O'Jays
1984Keep It Comin' (Album Version)The Jones Girls

1980I Heard It in a Love Song (Album Version)McFadden & Whitehead
1981The Spirit's in It (Album Version)Patti LaBelle

1979Strut Your Funky Stuff (Single Version)Frantique

1981What's Your Name? (Album Version)The Stylistics

1980Dance Turned Into a Romance (Album Version)The Jones Girls

1979Strategy (Album Version)Archie Bell & The Drells

1980I Love You Anyway (Album Version)Dee Dee Sharp Gamble

1981Bet Your Lucky Star (Album Version)Jean Carn

1979Let Me Be Good to You (Album Version)Lou Rawls

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now
Was That All It Was
Nights Over Egypt

16 tracks, 76 minutes

Year Song ArtistPopR&BDanceAC
1984Love You Direct (Album Version)The O'Jays

1986Ain't You Had Enough Love (Album Version)Phyllis Hyman

1992Somebody's Gotta Move (Album Version)The Dells

1986Do You Get Enough Love? (Album Version)Shirley Jones

1986First Time Together (Album Version)Phyllis Hyman

1985I Can't Forget You (Album Version)Patti LaBelle

1980Hurry Up This Way Again (Album Version)The Stylistics

1980Easy Money (Album Version)Dee Dee Sharp Gamble

1984Summer Fling (Album Version)The O'Jays

1995This Too Shall Pass (Album Version)Phyllis Hyman

1992Baby Don't Go Away Mad (Album Version)The Dells

1986She Knew About Me (Album Version)Shirley Jones

1983If Only You Knew (Album Version)Patti LaBelle

1984Extraordinary Girl (Album Version)The O'Jays

1983Heaven Only Knows (Album Version)Teddy Pendergrass

1981Baby Don't Go Yet (Previously Unreleased)The Jones Girls

My top three tracks from this disc (in no particular order): 
Hurry Up This Way Again
Heaven Only Knows
This Too Shall Pass

1 comment:

  1. Woohoo, expanded chart data. Only top three faves?
    I'll see your three and raise you the O'Jays and Blue Notes tracks. The music is so good, I almost forgive them for not presenting it chronolgiocally.