After having previously celebrated two of his musical inspirations - Burt Bacharach and Teddy Randazzo - with their own volumes, Ace's Songwriters and Producers series is turning its attention to legendary soul maestro Thom Bell. On June 26, the label's Kent imprint will release Ready or Not: Philly Soul Arrangements and Productions 1965-1978. As the title indicates, all 23 tracks were either produced or arranged (or both!) by the multi-hyphenate musician-composer-producer-arranger-conductor who
What is the sound of Philadelphia? As Kent Records' exciting compilation Nothing But a House Party: The Birth of The Philly Sound 1967-1971 readily admits, there were many such sounds - the sound of teen idols Fabian and Frankie Avalon; of "South Street" and "The Mashed Potato" and Cameo-Parkway Records; of the doo-wop of The Dreamlovers, and before that, of Italian-American singers like Mario Lanza and Al Martino. But the sound of Philadelphia referenced here is the one with capital letters -
Before Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell created The Sound of Philadelphia, Jerry Ross created the sound of Philadelphia. The Philly-born producer-songwriter-entrepreneur penned hits for Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations and produced chart-toppers by Bobby Hebb and Shocking Blue, but only now has his remarkable legacy in pop, rock-and-roll and soul been celebrated on disc. Ace has recently issued Some Kinda Magic: The Songs of Jerry Ross, a 24-track compendium of Ross'