VARIOUS: Get Down With The Philly Sound (Label: bbe)

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VARIOUS: Get Down With The Philly Sound

Compared to the mighty Motown, the sounds of the equally magnificent Philadelphia International label (and its various offshoots) have been sorely neglected by its copyright holders. Sure, we’ve had lots of single artist reissues and a number of compilations but nothing has ever been put together with the respect and love that has been lavished on Motown’s back catalogue. Thank goodness things are starting to change with this absolutely essential double CD. ‘Get Down With The Philly Sound’ is the creation of Dimitri From Paris and here he’s worked with lashings of the respect and love that we’ve just mentioned. Dimitri, of course, is one of the world’s top dance DJs and early on in his odyssey he realized that the best house music he was playing had its roots in “proper” disco and more specifically the disco sounds created at Philadelphia’s legendary Sigma Studios. So began Dimitri’s obsession with the music of the city of Brotherly Love and the eventual creation of this compilation (his fifth for the bbe label, by the way). What we have here is Dimitri’s homage to his heroes – the artists (of course), the players, the producers, the writers and above all else, engineer Joe Tarisa and super mixer Tom Moulton. On the first CD in the set Dimitri traces the development of Philly’s contribution to disco via 13 carefully chosen cuts. The main emphasis is on Teddy Pendergrass (solo and fronting the Blue Notes) but there’s also plenty of non Philadelphia International material and obscurities like TJM’s ‘I Don’t Need No Music’, Charles Mann’s ‘Do It Again’ and the John Davis and his Monster Orchestra’s version of ‘Night And Day’ (really, MFSB in full flow). You also get the cut that revitalised the Jacksons’ career – Dexter Wansell’s ‘Living Together’. That tune is also one of the highlights on the album’s second CD – where Dimitri gets to remix and re-edit 9 of the first CD’s tracks. Entrusted with the original tapes by the Philly archivists (something that doesn’t often happen) he’s worked in the same painstaking way as Tom Moulton. That’s to say, working with total respect, he’s allowed the musicians more prominence by extending the breaks, highlighting individual contributions and allowing the end sequence vamping to run on. It works spectacularly well on Eddie Kendricks’ ‘He’s A Friend’ and the Philly Devotion’s ‘Hurt So Bad’ but reaches a peak on the eleven minute remix of ‘The Love I Lost’. It begins and ends with Teddy P at his gospel-fired, preaching best and in between you get everything Philly could offer… most notably the incredibly innovative drumming of Earl Harris and the most tantalisingly brief vibe breaks from Vince Montana. It’s a monumental piece of work.. as indeed is the whole album, which is one of 2010’s genuine must-haves. To find out more and to watch some exclusive Philly video footage, go to and

(BB) 5/5