Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Zing! Went The Strings

In July I caught disco fever and in turn this led me investigate the work of the Master of the remix and father of the 12" single; producer extraordinaire Mr. Tom Moulton.

Tom Moulton

It began with the latest volume (no. 3) of his Philly Re-Grooved series where he applied his remixer's touch to a wide range of Philadelphia recorded artists from several labels, then on to the other two releases in the series, culminating in a recent purchase of last year's 4-CD 31-track box set of artists signed to Philadelphia International Records.

At last weekend's boot sale I was lucky enough to find a copy of the 1977 LP "Philadelphia Classics" for just £1.50:

Philadelphia Classics (1977)

Inside gatefold

The sleeve is rather torn and tattered but thankfully the records themselves are in excellent condition.

Rear cover

This double album consists of eight tracks from Gamble & Huff's P.I.R. catalogue, including artists The O'Jays, The Three Degrees, M.F.S.B., The Intruders and Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes.

For those not familiar with the Philadelphia Sound, its main feature is the addition of lush orchestral strings and searing horns to a funky, often bass-heavy soul music with gorgeous vocal harmonies; the more up-tempo of songs lending themselves easily to the 70s disco dancefloor.

Tom Moulton worked extensively with P.I.R. during the 1970s as a producer, and the way he manages to tease out the elements of a song to turn a 3-minute single into a 10-minute disco journey with builds, breakdowns and solos, all the while retaining that classy, breezy Philly sound is quite breathtaking.

Here Tom works his magic on such Philly classics as Love Is The Message and Love Train, extending some by several minutes.  All eight tracks here are included in the CD box set I referred to earlier, namely Philadelphia Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes (2012).

Here's my favourite song from the original Philadelphia Classics LP; Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes' Don't Leave Me This Way, which clocks in at a disco-heavenly 11 minutes: