CD Review: Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia

Various Artists
Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia
Philadelphia International Records/Legacy
by David Chiu

Soul music in the ‘70s was defined and popularized by the City of Brotherly Love—most of which was coming out of Philadelphia International Records, headed by the great songwriting/producing team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Their contributions as well as producer Thom Bell’s to the great Philly soul sound—which was both elegant and hard-hitting—are anthologized in this must-have set for those who remember and appreciate that golden period of music. You must have not lived if you didn’t hear a majority of the music on this 71-song compilation featuring the hits from the O’Jays (“Backstabbers”), Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (“Wake Up Everybody”), the Stylistics (break Up to Make Up), the Delfonics (Didn’t I Blow Your Mind) Billy Paul (“Me and Mrs. Jones”), McFadden and Whitehead (“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”), and many others. (Let’s not forget props to other acts like the Ebonys and Soul Survivors). Even soul shouter Wilson Pickett, long associated with the great Stax label, makes a contribution here with “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You.” The brilliance of Gamble and Huff and Bell is reaffirmed with the many songs they have crafted during that decade—so wonderfully produced and arranged. Like with any comprehensive Motown and Stax retrospective, Love Train is essential for those who love great soul music.


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