The O'Jays quietly began their association with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff on 1970's Neptune album In Philadelphia, announcing the Ohio group's shift to the City of Brotherly Love and its burgeoning soul scene. But there was nothing quiet about the opening track of Back Stabbers, the trio's first album for Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International Records. "When the World's at Peace," by Gamble, Bunny Sigler and Phil Hurtt, imagined a time "when it's safe to walk the streets/when we learn
Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up featuring a host of titles on CD and vinyl! Elvis Presley, The Album Collection (RCA/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada) To coincide with the 60th anniversary of his signing to RCA, Elvis Presley's The Album Collection is a whopping 60-disc box set containing 57 RCA albums released during Presley's lifetime (many with bonus tracks added) and 3 bonus discs of rarities, one disc each for the '50s, '60s and '70s. A 300-page
Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a host of titles on CD and vinyl! Fleetwood Mac, In Concert (Warner Bros./Rhino) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada) This 3-LP concert album features 22 live recordings from Fleetwood Mac's 1979-1980 tour, originally presented in December on the Tusk Deluxe Edition box set, for the very first time on vinyl. The music heard on In Concert was recorded at four stops (Wembley, Tucson, St. Louis, Omaha) during the band's 111-show
Yesterday we brought you the news of the upcoming Second Disc Records title to be released in conjunction with Real Gone Music: Bobby Darin's Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years anthology. Now we've got the rest of Real Gone's March slate to tell you about and it's as excitingly eclectic as ever! Kicking things off is a CD that should be of great interest to jazz enthusiasts. Herbie Mann is considered one of the greatest jazz flautists ever and was an early proponent of world music.
Between August 1972 and May 1981, late night television was a little more rockin'. Producer Burt Sugarman's The Midnight Special followed Johnny Carson's Tonight Show on Friday evenings, welcoming viewers with Johnny Rivers' rousing rendition of the traditional tune (a Top 20 hit for Rivers in 1965). Over the course of 450 episodes, The Midnight Special presented a staggering array of music's top talent on network television with most songs performed live for the majority of its run. The
Big Country, Steeltown: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMC) The second, criminally underrated album by the Scottish rockers behind "In a Big Country" is remastered and expanded with a bonus disc of single sides and outtakes. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.) UPDATE: This one's been pushed back to September, folks! Philadelphia International: The Collection - 2o Original Albums / The Very Best of Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, The Three Degrees, The Intruders, The O’Jays, Billy Paul and Harold Melvin
UPDATED 4/9 WITH NEW INFORMATION, LINKS AND IMAGES: The love train is pulling back into the station. Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, distributed by CBS Records, began life in 1971 with the release of Billy Paul’s Going East on LP and The Ebonys’ “You’re the Reason Why” on 45. (Trivia fans, take note: Gideon Smith’s single “Arkansaw Wife” – yes, you read that right – has an earlier catalogue number, but the quintessentially Philly track by The Ebonys appears
Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, held on October 16, 1992 at New York’s Madison Square Garden to mark Dylan’s Columbia Records debut, could have been a valedictory. The 51-year old honoree and participant was nearly at the halfway point of a self-imposed sabbatical from writing and recording original songs; it would last seven years, from 1990 to 1997. He had not had an album reach the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 since 1983’s Infidels and hadn’t cracked the Top 5 since 1979’s
Though London, England is some 3,500 miles away from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States, the spirit of the City of Brotherly Love is alive and well thanks to Cherry Red’s Big Break Records label. Two more remarkable artifacts from Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International empire have recently arrived from BBR, and though both titles have previously been available on CD, these new reissues are their best representations in the format yet. Fans who only know The
From the streets of Philadelphia to the deepest vaults of soul and R&B, this coming week's slate of reissues from Big Break Records has got just about something for everyone. Enchantment, the Detroit soul group behind 1978's hit "It's You That I Need," would make some changes in the '80s, having moved labels a few times (from Roadshow/United Artists to RCA and finally Columbia for two albums) and also subtly altering their sound from a lush, disco feel to a Fairlight-led modern groove.
Wings, Wings Over America: The Paul McCartney Archive Collection (MPL/Hear Music/Concord) Paul McCartney's first great U.S. tour was chronicled brilliantly on this 1977 live album, and it's been greatly expanded herein for McCartney's ongoing reissue campaign. 2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. 3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. 3CD (Best Buy exclusive) 4CD/1DVD box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck,
Having recently introduced some EMI-controlled artists to the ICON roster, Universal now incorporates some of those artists (and some of their most treasured R&B and country acts) into a new budget-oriented series, Ballads. And while none of the artists covered here really, truly need more compilations on the market - and, one can assume, the assembly of these is as low-impact as the ICON series - there's actually some promise to be had here. The overall selection of artists isn't terrible,
James Barkley’s rear cover artwork for The O’Jays’ 1973 Philadelphia International LP Ship Ahoy depicts a mighty vessel sailing on the sea, but the reflection in the water isn’t of the boat itself. Rather, ghostly figures of abandoned souls populate these waters. The setting is the Middle Passage, the infamous crossing in the “triangular trade” that saw Africans shackled and shipped as slaves to the Americas. Those spectral presences loom over the visages of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams and
The many varied strains of soul and R&B have long found a home at Cherry Red’s Big Break Records imprint, and this week's offerings from the label are no different, with five albums having just arrived from five very different artists on both sides of the Atlantic. The most well-known release in this batch is The O’Jays’ 1973 opus Ship Ahoy, produced and largely written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff for their Philadelphia International label. Though it yielded the hit singles “Put Our
Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell & Angels / The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced (200-Gram Mono Vinyl) / Axis: Bold As Love (200-Gram Mono Vinyl) (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) Not only does today see the release of a new posthumous Hendrix compilation, comprised of newly unearthed outtakes from the vaults, but the original mono mixes of his first two LPs (including both U.S. and U.K. editions of Are You Experienced) make their first appearances on vinyl since their initial releases.
Philadelphia International Records has turned 40, and you're invited to the party! Sony's Legacy Recordings thrilled fans earlier this year with the archival release of Golden Gate Groove, a Don Cornelius-hosted concert that brought together many of the label's biggest and brightest stars, from the O'Jays to Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass. The folks across the pond at the Harmless label have already dropped Philadelphia International: The Re-Edits, with 21 tracks
The music business has always had a funny way of turning artists into overnight sensations. But although The O’Jays achieved widespread fame on the Philadelphia International label with 1972’s one-two punch of “Back Stabbers” and “Love Train,” the group hardly broke through overnight. As the Mascots, the Ohio natives recorded their first single in 1960. As the O’Jays (named after their manager, Cleveland DJ Eddie O’Jay), they recorded for the Daco, Apollo and Little Star labels. It was
Aretha Franklin, Knew You Were Waiting: The Best of 1980-1998 (Arista/Legacy) The Queen of Soul's comeback years, in a new anthology. Check back soon for a review from Joe as well as a Greater Hits from me stacking this set up to other compilations from this part of Aretha's discography. Various Artists,
No love, no peace, no shoes on my feet…no home, just a shack where I sleep… In the fall of 1971, Philadelphia International Records launched its long-playing series with Billy Paul’s Going East, and the title opus in which the velvet-voiced crooner spins a slow-burning yarn of slavery. It was hardly Top 40 fare (Paul would have to wait till producers/songwriters/label entrepreneurs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff gifted him “Me and Mrs. Jones” the following year) but signaled the dramatic
Now's as good a time as any to get into the sweet sounds and lush arrangements of Philadelphia soul in the 1970s. 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of legendary writer/producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's creation of a label that set the groundwork for some of the best soul and R&B sounds of the decade, and this year's seeing a lot of excellent catalogue projects honoring that legacy. We've already told you about Legacy's Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia Live in San
England, Russia, China, Africa, Egypt, Israel…all of the above are stops on the O’Jays’ perennial “Love Train.” We all know that the train started in Philadelphia, home to Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the song’s writer-producers, and Thom Bell, its co-arranger (with Bobby Martin). But a new release from Philadelphia International Records and Legacy Recordings reveals another pivotal stop: San Francisco. For one remarkable night, brotherly love washed over the city by the bay. Golden Gate
Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz / Diary of a Madman: Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy) The Prince of Darkness' first two LPs, finally put back into print with the original drum and bass tracks and expanded with bonus material (including a previously unreleased live disc for Diary). A box set packs all the CDs in with vinyl, a commemorative book and the new documentary Thirty Years After the Blizzard. (Official site) Twisted Sister, Under the Blade: Deluxe Edition (Eagle) Another welcome hard-rock
Not long after the Cherry Red labels update their calendars for April, their ever-busy Big Break Records imprint preps a set of R&B reissues for May. And there are quite a few hits contained therein. No less than six new expansions are on the label's schedule in the next month, most of them from the Sony catalogue. The biggest hits by far would be Back Stabbers, the sophomore release by The O'Jays and the album that spun off the immortal chart-topping hit "Love Train," and Deniece Williams'
When Sony Music Entertainment reacquired the rights to the full Philadelphia International Records (PIR) catalog in 2007 (after losing control of the post-1976 output in 1984 to EMI), hopes were high that much of that storied hit factory’s catalogue would finally be reissued on CD. Arguably the 1970s’ answer to Berry Gordy’s Motown empire, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s label boasted a top-notch roster: Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, The Three Degrees