Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia, is the most ambitious CD collection to date chronicling the amazing classic soul journey of R&B music innovators Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff.
71 songs are featured on the new 4 disk set, due for release at physical and digital retail outlets on Tuesday, October 21, 2008, via a partnership between Legacy Recordings and Philadelphia International Records.
How is this anthology different from The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff's Greatest Hits or Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records, both released earlier this year?
33% of the tracks on this new record were never released on Philadelphia International Records! However, either Gamble & Huff, or their creative musical collaborators, are responsible for prominently injecting the Philly sound into the production of these expatriate non-P-I-R tracks.
- "Expressway (To Your Heart)" Soul Survivors
- "La-La Means I Love You" Delfonics
- "Cowboys To Girls" Intruders
- "Hey, Western Union Man" Jerry Butler
- "Ready Or Not Here I Come" Delfonics
- "Only The Strong Survive" Jerry Butler
- "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" Delfonics
- "Brand New Me" Dusty Springfield
- "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" Wilson Pickett
- "You're The Reason Why" Ebonys
- "Drowning In The Sea of Love" Joe Simon
- "I'm Stone In Love With You" Stylistics
- "I Miss You" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "Back Stabbers" O'Jays
- "Sunshine" O'Jays
- "I'll Be Around" Spinners
- "Slow Motion (pt. 1)" Johnny Williams
- "Me & Mrs. Jones" Billy Paul
- "If You Don't Know Me By Now" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "Love Is Here" Futures
- "Love Train" O'Jays
- "Break Up To Make Up" Stylistics
- "Family Affair" MFSB
- "It's Forever" Ebonys
- "Time To Get Down" O'Jays
- "There's No Me Without You" Manhattans
- "I'll Always Love My Mama" Intruders
- "The Love I Lost" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "I Wanna Know Your Name" Intruders
- "Dirty Ol' Man" Three Degrees
- "Put Your Hands Together" O'Jays
- "Thanks For Saving My Life" Billy Paul
- "Mighty Love" Spinners
- "Be Thankful For What You Got (Pt. 1)" William DeVaughn
- "For The Love Of Money" O'Jays
- "Where Do We Go From Here" Trammps
- "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" MFSB (featuring the Three Degrees)
- "Then Came You" Spinners with Dionne Warwick
- "Love Is The Message" MFSB (featuring the Three Degrees)
- "When Will I See You Again" Three Degrees
- "Where Are All My Friends" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "Picture Us" Bunny Sigler
- "Bad Luck" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "Give The People What They Want" O'Jays
- "Billy's Back Home" Billy Paul
- "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (featuring Sharon Paige)
- "Do It Any Way You Wanna" People's Choice
- "The Big Hurt" People's Choice
- "Let Me Make Love To You" O'Jays
- "Wake Up Everybody" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "I Love Music" O'Jays
- "Don't Leave Me This Way" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
- "Let's Groove" Archie Bell & The Drells
- "Livin' For The Weekend" O'Jays
- "Kiss and Say Goodbye" Manhattans
- "I'm Not In Love" Dee Dee Sharp
- "You'll Never Find Another Love" Lou Rawls
- "The Rubberband Man" Spinners
- "Enjoy Yourself" Jacksons
- "Free Love" Jean Carn
- "I Don't Love You Anymore" Teddy Pendergrass
- "See You When I Get There" Lou Rawls
- "Use Ta Be My Girl" O'Jays
- "Close The Door" Teddy Pendergrass
- "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" McFadden & Whitehead
- "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" Jones Girls
- "Hurry Up This Way Again" Stylistics
- "Love T.K.O." Teddy Pendergrass
- "I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin'" Leon Huff
- "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" Deniece Williams
- "If Only You Knew" Patti LaBelle
Deniece Williams, William DeVaughn, Joe Simon, The Trammps, Dusty Springfield, The Spinners, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, The Manhattans, Jerry Butler, and Wilson Pickett did not record for Philadelphia International Records.
Including these performers does reveal how the Philly production sound touched a broad variety of individual styles. For instance, you'll see in the video below the album cover featuring the spirited vocalist who went straight from Memphis to Philadelphia to capture some Philly magic.
Most of the tracks on Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia are full-length original album versions. Unlike Philadelphia Classics, the double LP set from 1977 (released on CD in 2002), which featured spectacular extended versions of "Don't Leave Me This Way, "Love Is The Message," and others, there are no super extended versions in this 4 CD release.
Instead of the short versions of "Be Thankful for What You Got (pt. 1)" by William DeVaughn, and "Let's Groove" by Archie Bell & The Drells (only 3 minutes here), I would have included the longer original album versions.
My favorite lost track in this collection is "I'm Not In Love," Dee Dee Sharp's sexy cover of the 1975 10CC hit. I used to play Dee Dee's version on the radio back in the day. Glad it is here, although on my pre-release copy of this box set, Dee Dee Sharp's name is missing from the performer list on the back CD jacket!
If you treat yourself to this excellent collection, the CD bonuses include:
- A booklet with unpublished photos
- Philadelphia International Records Timeline
- Historical essays by Felix Hernandez, Lynell George, Gerald Early, Joe McEwen, and James Miller
- Conversations with Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and producer Thom Bell
This is hot stuff! A one-hour television special, Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia will blast off on PBS in November, 2008 with repeats through 2009.
Enjoy the 1 minute video tribute that I've produced and narrated in honor of Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia.