VARIOUS; Philly Re-Grooved – Tom Moulton Remixes (Harmless)

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To celebrate their 100th release Harmless records have pulled off quite a coup. First they’ve secured licensing rights to Stan Watson’s iconic Philadelphia label, Philly Groove; then they managed to persuade the legendary Tom Moulton to remix a dozen of the label’s original master tapes. The result is a stupendous soul dance album that oozes class throughout. Moulton’s reputation as a mixer, of course, wasn’t based on gimmicks and pyrotechnics. Rather, he treated the music he was asked to work with with total respect – and what fool would meddle too much with tracks put together by the cream of the Philly music scene? What he did was to cleverly extend the tunes in just the right place; then, other passages would be highlighted by the creation of rhythmic breaks before he brought it all back together with a sweeping finale. Hit any of the dozen cuts here to hear his artistry – but, as we’ve just mentioned, he did have some great raw material to start with and even without the bonus of the Moulton mixes any compilation that featured First Choice’s ‘Armed And Extremely Dangerous’, The Delfonics’ ‘I Told You So’ and The Philly Groove Orchestra’s ‘Let Us Entertain You’ would be off to a flying start. Moreover the collection also gives lie to those who say that the music of Philadelphia was lightweight. There’s nothing light about Major Harris’ vocal on Nate Turner’s ‘Ruby Lee’ while Finishing Touch’s ‘Second Best (Is Never Enough)’ rivals anything by Sam Dees or Philip Mitchell – proper soul! In short, there’s nothing not to like here and as a cherry on their centenary cake Harmless have licensed three real hard-to-get items – Ultra High Frequency’s ‘We’re On The Right Track’, Finishing Touch’s ‘Don’t Put Me Down’ and Heaven ‘n Hell’s ‘Whatcha Gonna Do’ .. three cherries really! Happy 100th!

(BB) 5/5