0 Motown Philly back again: A Soulful Tale of Two Cities

  • News
  • by Kingsley H. Smith
  • 04/27/2006

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In the recording industry, it doesn't matter...what time. When recycling "solid gold," everything's on the table.

Things run in cycles in the music business. About once every decade, there's the golden opportunity to revive songs from our distant past.

Whether it's Patrice Rushen being sampled by Kirk Franklin, or another hit version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," (think Gladys Knight & the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Creedence Clearwater Revival, then Michael McDonald), old hits never fade away, they keep coming back for more.

Coming June 6, 2006, Philadelphia producer Phil Hurt, who has 11 gold and platinum records in his trophy case, is releasing "A Soulful Tale of Two Cities."

The concept is simple. Let the Motown stars record the Philadelphia classic soul jams. Have the troops from the Philadelphia International school record some Motor City magic.

Phil Hurt's ingenious project will be released on his new label: Soul Renaissance Records.

So how will Philly artists, songwriters, and producers perform songs from Detroit's Motown era? How will the Motown artists re-create The Sound of Philadelphia?

Here's just a sample of what we can expect on the CD from the Philly artists:

  • Jean Carn sings Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground"
  • Blue Magic's Ted Mills sings the Miracles ?Shop Around?
  • The Delfonics' William Hart sings the Four Tops "Just Ask the Lonely"
  • Writer, producer, artist Bunny Sigler sings Marvin & Tammi's "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing"

And from our Motown friends:

  • Freda Payne, (remember her), does the Stylistics "Betcha by Golly Wow"
  • Bobby Taylor of the Vancouvers sings "If You Don't Know me By Now" of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes fame
  • Lamont Dozier croons ?Me and Mrs. Jones? from the Billy Paul song book

In on the project is Detroit native George Clinton, who tackles ?Love Won?t Let Me Wait? (no, it's not a funk version!). Major Harris will be proud.

Clinton also covers ?Expressway to Your Heart,? the big Philly hit by the Soul Survivors.

Speaking of funk, Motown's legendary house band, The Funk Brothers, play on the tracks recorded by the Detroit Legends.

MFSB plays on the tracks recorded by the Philly artists.

The Motown folks are recording the Philly songs in Detroit, and the Philly International crew are cutting their Motown songs in the city of brotherly love.

If this CD release is successful, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be, look for a possible tour to promote "A Soulful Tale of Two Cities". The best of times indeed.

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Motown Philly back again: A Soulful Tale of Two Cities
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