Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Throwback Tuesdays! Philly Soul Edition

Sis Le Chele finally let me have my way with Throwback Tuesday. I had been asking her since she had started if I could do one and had been giving her suggestions which she ignored. (Yes Le Chele I am throwing mad shade.) But she finally acquiesced, so here I am. This weeks Throwback Tuesdays takes a brief look into Philly Soul.

This is definitely my favorite genre, and yes Philly Soul gets a genre all by itself. It is not regulated just to current heavy weights like Jill Scott or Musiq Soulchild, but more importantly, Philly Soul was epitomized in the 1970s by huge groups and artists which created the Philly Sound.

This song is The Sound of Philadelphia by MFSB. And I'm sure you all know what used this and helped make it famous [1]. And if you don't, you should get smacked.

Some of the old school Philly Sound heavyweights have definitely showed the way for black and white soul and r&b artists. They have even given birth to some. One of the best known examples is Eddie Levert of the O'Jays, a key Philly Sound group, who gave birth to Gerald Levert- one of the most soulful r&b crooners of my parents generation. Damn shame both of Eddie Levert's sons passed before him.

The O'Jays are my favorite old school soul/r&b group. I've been sleeping on them for the longest, but once I reopened my mind, I was captivated. I could dance to them all night long.

Another Philly group, that goes down in infamy for having a member more popular than the groups namesake, is Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. It famously spawned the great that is Teddy Pendergrass.

I know Harold Melvin was extra salty that Teddy blew up and that all the ladies in the audience was coming to see him not the group (aka Harold Melvin). And Teddy, oh Teddy, his music will live on as certified baby-makers. That voice can sing to me all night long!

Even more importantly, Teddy Pendergrass spent the years after his dabilitating car-crash, promoting awareness about spinal cord injuries. If you haven't seen his Unsung, you need to. It's fantastic.

And now I have to take a moment out to thank wikipedia. My background searching regarding the Philadelphia Sound led my to find out this beautiful little gem that made my day. The Stylistics was also a part of the Philly Sound. They have had some of the best known ballads of all time and the falsetto of Russel Thompkins, Jr. still gives me chills.

Philly stays winning. New York may have rap/hip-hop. But Philly has soul/r&b on lock. Just saying. And our current soul superstars aren't nothing to sweat over either.

Jill Scott has been holding it down as one of the best soul artists of our generation and Musiq Soulchild quietly keeps belting out stellar songs I will love til the day I die. Both their love songs are some of the most beautiful I've heard. And her sexy time songs aren't anything to sneeze at either. And if you haven't seen Jill in concert, then you are missing out. Seriously. She's on tour now folks, get some tickets. It's worth it. And it doesn't hurt that I've been told I look like Jill Scott more times than I can count. It's a beautiful thing folks.

Philly has made some beautiful music. Our Philly Sound has created some of the greatest songs and musicians ever. They were conscience, spoke of love, and could make a girl or guy ready to make babies. I just gave you a small bite of the large pie that is Philly soul. Don't sleep on our artists folks, and definitely go re-listen to the old school joints if you haven't in a while.

[1] Soul Train...

AN: I'm quite partial to this topic, being a Philly native, and if you don't dig these songs- you are crazy.

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