Marshalled by BUTCH INGRAM (with the help of his brothers), Philadelphia’s SOCIETY HILL RECORDS continues to keep the flag flying for the classy soul music we will always associate with the City of Brotherly Love. The label’s regular releases also provide an outlet for the wealth of soul talent still to be found in Philly.
The label’s latest release is a gorgeous and sumptuous 14 tracker – ‘BUTCH INGRAM and the SOCIETY HILL ORCHESTRA PRESENT PHILLY CLASSICS vol.3. The “orchestra” consists of a team of current hot Philly session players – people like saxophonist Benny Barksdale, Jr., guitarist Gary Nelson and Butch Ingram himself on keys alongside his brothers Johnny (drums) and Timmy (percussion). Vocals come courtesy of Philly soul veterans Vicki Austin, Carla Benson, The Illusions and The Fabulous Ebonys.
The Ebonys reprise their classic ‘Don’t You Like The Way I Love You’ and that’s a clue to one of the attractions of this collection. You see, here Butch Ingram has reinvented plenty of lesser-known Philly songs like the Ethics’ ‘Think About Tomorrow’ and the Jones Girls’ ‘Tel Me Why’. Of course, he can’t resist tackling some big ones too – so you can re-enjoy stuff like ‘Groovy People’, ‘Mighty Love’ and ‘Used Ta Be My Girl’. The cuckoo in the Philly nest here is a version of David Ruffin’s ‘Walk Away From’ – recorded in New York (I think), but it fits the Philly template perfectly.
Ingram’s new versions of these great old tunes are fully respectful of the originals, but he does give them a new, contemporary slant (try the new take on the Stylistics’ ‘Hurry Up This Way Again’ to get the flavour) and c’mon, great tunes like these demand constant replaying and reworking!