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0 Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia

  • Video
  • by Kingsley H. Smith
  • 09/09/2008

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.

CD 1

  1. "Expressway (To Your Heart)" Soul Survivors
  2. "La-La Means I Love You" Delfonics
  3. "Cowboys To Girls" Intruders
  4. "Hey, Western Union Man" Jerry Butler
  5. "Ready Or Not Here I Come" Delfonics
  6. "Only The Strong Survive" Jerry Butler
  7. "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" Delfonics
  8. "Brand New Me" Dusty Springfield
  9. "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" Wilson Pickett
  10. "You're The Reason Why" Ebonys
  11. "Drowning In The Sea of Love" Joe Simon
  12. "I'm Stone In Love With You" Stylistics
  13. "I Miss You" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  14. "Back Stabbers" O'Jays
  15. "Sunshine" O'Jays
  16. "I'll Be Around" Spinners
  17. "Slow Motion (pt. 1)" Johnny Williams
  18. "Me & Mrs. Jones" Billy Paul
  19. "If You Don't Know Me By Now" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  20. "Love Is Here" Futures

CD 2

  1. "Love Train" O'Jays
  2. "Break Up To Make Up" Stylistics
  3. "Family Affair" MFSB
  4. "It's Forever" Ebonys
  5. "Time To Get Down" O'Jays
  6. "There's No Me Without You" Manhattans
  7. "I'll Always Love My Mama" Intruders
  8. "The Love I Lost" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  9. "I Wanna Know Your Name" Intruders
  10. "Dirty Ol' Man" Three Degrees
  11. "Put Your Hands Together" O'Jays
  12. "Thanks For Saving My Life" Billy Paul
  13. "Mighty Love" Spinners
  14. "Be Thankful For What You Got (Pt. 1)" William DeVaughn
  15. "For The Love Of Money" O'Jays
  16. "Where Do We Go From Here" Trammps
  17. "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" MFSB (featuring the Three Degrees)

CD 3

  1. "Then Came You" Spinners with Dionne Warwick
  2. "Love Is The Message" MFSB (featuring the Three Degrees)
  3. "When Will I See You Again" Three Degrees
  4. "Where Are All My Friends" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  5. "Picture Us" Bunny Sigler
  6. "Bad Luck" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  7. "Give The People What They Want" O'Jays
  8. "Billy's Back Home" Billy Paul
  9. "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (featuring Sharon Paige)
  10. "Do It Any Way You Wanna" People's Choice
  11. "The Big Hurt" People's Choice
  12. "Let Me Make Love To You" O'Jays
  13. "Wake Up Everybody" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  14. "I Love Music" O'Jays
  15. "Don't Leave Me This Way" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  16. "Let's Groove" Archie Bell & The Drells
  17. "Livin' For The Weekend" O'Jays

CD 4

  1. "Kiss and Say Goodbye" Manhattans
  2. "I'm Not In Love" Dee Dee Sharp
  3. "You'll Never Find Another Love" Lou Rawls
  4. "The Rubberband Man" Spinners
  5. "Enjoy Yourself" Jacksons
  6. "Free Love" Jean Carn
  7. "I Don't Love You Anymore" Teddy Pendergrass
  8. "See You When I Get There" Lou Rawls
  9. "Use Ta Be My Girl" O'Jays
  10. "Close The Door" Teddy Pendergrass
  11. "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" McFadden & Whitehead
  12. "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" Jones Girls
  13. "Hurry Up This Way Again" Stylistics
  14. "Love T.K.O." Teddy Pendergrass
  15. "I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin'" Leon Huff
  16. "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" Deniece Williams
  17. "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.

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Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia
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