A sweet late 70s set from The ThreeDegrees – who've moved on over to CBS/Epic after their hot streak at Philly International – with a bit more of an expansive sound than usual! They're still working in a core Philly mode with recording at Sigma Sound and arrangements by Richard Rome – but also with tunes that hit a growing range of more sophisticated, adult-oriented themes. The trio are clearly out to show that they're not just a dancefloor act here – as the album features some sensitive ballads – great work from the trio of Sheila Ferguson, Valerie Holiday and the returning Helen Scott. Titles include the slightly funky "Macaroni Man", plus "People With Feeling", "What I Did For Love", "We're All Alone", "Gee Baby", "Standing Up For Love", "In Love We Grow", and "Just Leave Me Alone". 3 bonus tracks on this CD version – "Toast Of Love (non album single)", "Do It (Use Your Mind) (single version)", and "Standing Up For Love (single version)". CD
This legendary trio of singers go back to their Philly Soul roots of the 70s – and come across surprisingly well in the process! We'll be the first to admit that we were a bit wary, given the cover and length of time since the group's classic releases – but ThreeDegrees really step up strongly here, thanks in part to some tight core arrangements that reprise the best Philly sound of the 70s, without ever trying too hard to update the style or give things a too-contemporary twist! The arrangements aren't credited, but production is by Buzz Amato, who also works in the backing group – and the grooves have a warm blend of funky currents and strings that really fit the reworkings of "Love Train", "If You Don't Know Me By Now", "Strategy", "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now", "You'll Never Find Another Love", "Me & Mr Jones", and "TSOP". CD
Soaring sounds from the ThreeDegrees – a great illustration of the way the female trio could really take off – even without the disco grooves that would later bring them fame! There's a bouncy sound to most numbers here – a bit of Northern Soul here, some 60s mod there – and the girls' vocals are even more amazing than we remember them in later years – really at the top of the girl group pack for the time. Arrangements are by Hutch Davie, Tony Camillo, and Bert DeCoteaux – and titles include "Maybe", "Trade Winds", "I Do Take You", "Who Is She (And What Is She To You)", and "Magic Mirror". LP, Vinyl record album
Three Ounces Of Love were a sweet female soul trio – made up of the Alexander sisters, and sounding a lot like some of the bigger Philly combos, like The Jones Girls or The ThreeDegrees. The group made a good choice not to go disco at a time when that seemed to be the natural route for so many female soul combos – and the sophisticated modern soul approach of this album stands strong over the years, and ranks right up there with the best work of The Jones Girls. Titles include "In The Middle Of The Feeling", "Bet You'll Come Running", "Star Love", "Today Will Soon Be Yesterday", and "Give Me Some Feeling". LP, Vinyl record album
Although recorded early in the career of Muhal Richard Abrams, this brilliant LP shows the pianist/composer turning away from the stock jazz and studio work of earlier years – to develop into one of the richest talents to rise from the Chicago avant underground of the 60s! At the time of the recording, Abrams was the president of the recently-founded AACM – and for the session, he's surrounded himself with some of the best young talents from Chicago, including Thurman Barker, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, and Maurice McIntyre – all of whom help to create a complicated web of colors, shapes, and sounds, that prove that the youthful energy of the underground scene was more than capable of crafting sophisticated modernist documents. The album features three long works – "Levels & Degrees Of Light", "The Bird Song", and "My Thoughts Are My Future". CD
Roy Budd —
Diamonds ... LP Cinephile/Castle (UK), 1975. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)...
Heist films always provided some of the best soundtracks of the 70's, and this one (starring Robert Shaw and Richard Roundtree, and issued in the US as Diamond Shaft) is no exception! Roy Budd rises to the groovy occasion and scores some excellent moments that match a light orchestral sound with a throbbing electric bass and percussion underground – in a style that's like Lalo Schifrin's best work from the time. The LP's overflowing with tracks, including a few bonus mixes, and there's even 2 vocal numbers that feature The ThreeDegrees. Titles include "The Thief", "Beauty & The Bass", "Diamonds", "Party Piece", "Thief On the Prowl", and more! Nice notes, and some nicely funky crime themes, too! Nice gatefold cover, too! LP, Vinyl record album
Classic Jones Girls for Philly! The record's a landmark album in the shift from Philly disco to sophisticated modern – and the smooth tight vocals of The Jones Girls are to the latter half of Philly what the runaway singing of ThreeDegrees were to the early half. Includes their excellent remake of the Stylistics' "Children of the Night" – which has a cool sample riff on the intro – plus the cuts "I Just Love The Man", "When I'm Gone", "At Peace With Woman", and "Back In the Day". One of the best female records on Philly International, and with excellent work by Dexter Wansel and Kenny Gamble! LP, Vinyl record album
Two Philly classics – back to back! "TSOP" is one of those monster 70s instrumentals – catchy and groovy at the disco, with sweet backing vocals by ThreeDegrees, and a hook that meant the track was used constantly for theme songs and openers. "Love Is The Message" is an equally great number, lifted from one of the group's first LPs, with great arrangements by Bobby Martin! 12-inch, Vinyl record
Swan Records was a real powerhouse of Philly Soul back in the 60s – a label whose efforts really set the scene for countless more Philly achievements to come! Swan was primarily a pop label – with some big hits (including early US release of Beatles singles) to its name – but the company was also on the scene to cut some of the best soul in Philadelphia as the 60s got going – a great deal of which is brought together on this set! Swan's sides often have a Northern Soul vibe that rivals the best of Detroit, especially labels away from Motown – and the pop experience gave the label a quality of production and professionalism that few other labels could match! Yet there's also no pop commercialism here, either – as these sides often step back and really let the artist do their thing – as you'll hear on 26 tracks that include "Everybody Crossfire" by Sammy Stevens, "Gotta Draw The Line" by The ThreeDegrees, "Have Faith In Me" by Sugar & Spice, "Put Yourself In My Place" by Azie Mortimer, "In Love" by Tony Galla & The Rising Sons, "Misery" by Eddie Carlton, "Run Run" by The Persianettes, "You're Everything" by The Showmen, "Put That Woman Down" by John Leach, "Who Do You Love" by The Sapphires, "Handsome Boy" by The Ladybirds, "Trying To Find My Baby" by Troy Dodds, and "Two Steps Ahead" by Herb Johnson. CD
Silver Convention —
Save Me ... LP Midland, 1975. Used ...
Out Of Stock
A huge breakout moment for disco in the 70s – the first album from Silver Convention, a very early example of the European power on the club scene! The group's the brainchild of arranger Sylvester Levay and producer Michael Kunze – who come up with some great German disco rhythms for the record, mixed with soaring female trio vocals, by a group that includes two German gals and American soul singer Roberta Kelly! The vocal approach is similar to that 70s Philly group mode – popularized by First Choice, ThreeDegrees, and others – and pumped it up with the Munich sound of throbbing bass and heavy beats, which was arguably one of the first steps towards house music in the 80s. Titles include the huge hit "Fly Robin Fly", plus "Save Me", "I Like It", "Chains Of Love", "Tiger Baby", "Always Another Girl", and "Heart Of Stone". LP, Vinyl record album
A trio of lovely ladies from the Philly scene of the 70s – heard here in a surprisingly great contemporary recording! The Mellow Moods grew up in the same generation as bigger Philly female trios like First Choice or ThreeDegrees – and although they never hit the heights of those groups, they had a wonderful harmony sound that was every bit as great as some of the stellar male groups that were making mellow soul magic in the underground! All these many years later, a reformed version of the group works here with Butch Ingram and the Ingram Family – who provide the perfect sort of Philly backings for their vocals – contemporary, but handled with lots of classic touches that really fit the choice of material. The whole thing feels more like a set of female harmony soul from the late 70s, instead of something from this century – and titles include "Stop Taking My Love For Granted", "Tell Love Hello", "Right On The Tip Of My Tongue", "Tell Him That I Love Him", "Hello Stranger", and "Selfish One". CD