The soul sound of Philadelphia is a cornerstone of modern soul. The music crafted by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Thom Bell and countless others refuses to go away. For the soul crowd, the first chords of songs like ‘Backstabbers’, ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ and ‘Could It Be I’m Falling In Love’ never fail to inspire, bring a smile to faces or simply induce a contented glow . The music is timless and in the City of Brotherly Love there’s a coterie of artists working to ensure that its impact will never be forgotten. That resolute outfit is led Butch Ingram (he of the famous Ingram clan) and via his Society Hill Records he regularly records and issues new, updated versions of songs from the classic Philly songbook.
His latest offering is a lovely 16 track album credited to the SOCIETY HILL ORCHESTRA who ‘Revisit Philly Classics’. The LP boasts plenty of well-known songs … things like ‘Hold Back The Night’, ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’, ‘The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me’ and ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’ but there are also plenty of not so familiar tunes… like ‘I Should Be Your Lover’, ‘TLC’ and ‘Mr Magic’.
Helping Butch and the Orchestra deliver are handpicked, local vocalists – Benny Barksdale, Donnie Tatum, Mary Harris, Sugarbear, TRU, Baxter and Jimmy Lee and what a great, memory-jerking job they do!
In truth, these new versions don’t stray too far from the original templates though there are some subtle smooth jazz shadings here and there. Purists might, therefore, ask what’s the point? But such great music deserves plenty of exposure in whatever way. You know you can’t keep a good tune down and there are 16 great ones here. Out now!