PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL CLASSICS-THE TOM MOULTON REMIXES.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL CLASSICS-THE TOM MOULTON REMIXES.

After a long wait since the project was first announced, one of the most anticipated box sets will soon be released. 26 March 2012 is the day when Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes will be released and thankfully, I’ve been given a sneak preview of this box set. I’m pleased to tell you that Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes has been well worth the wait, featuring thirty-one Philly classics, including seventeen brand new remixes. Truly, the music is stunning, having spent some time just reveling in the magnificence of the music. It’s a fitting tribute to Tom Moulton, a man who is an innovator, and whose influence on dance music has been huge. Without Tom Moulton, there would have been neither remixes nor twelve inch singles, and doubtless, the history of DJ-ing would be very different.  Single-handedly Tom invented both the remix and twelve inch single, while creating some of the best remixes in the history of music. Before I tell you about the music on Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes, I’ll tell how Tom Moulton inadvertently invented both the remix and twelve inch single.

How Tom Moulton invented the remix is a fascinating tale of how fate and being in the right place at the right time can change history. Throughout Tom’s career, he’d been steeped in music, working firstly  as a junior promo man for United Artists, RCA and then King Records from the late fifties onwards. By the late sixties and disillusioned with the dishonesty and corruption that scarred music, Tom left the music industry. From there, he became a model, working on photographic shoots and on the catwalk. While he was making a living, his real passion was music. However, when a colleague  invited him to Fire Island to club the Sandpiper, he’d have a eureka moment that would change his life and music.

Having arrived at Fire Island, Tom headed to the Sandpiper, where he’d change musical history. When watching a DJ mix the old seven inch singles, he realized that just when dancers were gaining momentum and getting into the groove, the single was over. After this there another single was mixed in and the same thing was happening. Realizing this must be hugely frustrating for dancers and DJs, Tom decided to rectify the problem.

Back home, he spend nearly a week editing a forty-five minute reel-to-reel tape designed keep the dance floor going. Now this wasn’t easy. He extended parts of tracks, looping the most exciting parts and ensured there was a seamless changeover between tracks, so much so, that dancers hardly noticed it. Using his own collection of soul music, the tape was compiled, but this hadn’t been easy. It meant editing the tape using razor blades, tape and fluid, constantly joining and rejoining the tape. Dexterity, patience, skill and an ear for music were needed, but Tom had all that. So after a week, the tape was finished, and was given to a DJ at the Sandpiper. The result was as he’d expected, the dance-floor loved it. This would be Tom’s first step on the road to remixer extraordinaire.

Having made his first disco mix, Tom set about finding tracks to remix. This turned out to be relatively easy, mainly because Tom wasn’t a DJ. The reason for this was radio was still King, with DJ’s in clubs and record companies neither communicating nor perceived as important in the great scheme of thing. This is very different from today. So, when Tom approached record companies to remix one of their tracks, then often they say yes. Starting with The Carstairs’ It Really Hurts Me Girl, remixed by Tom for Red Coach Records, Tom’s nascent remixing career was underway. By 1974, Tom Moulton had perfected his craft, remixing BT Express’ Do It Till You’re Satisfied. Although the group didn’t like the track, Tom’s remix became a big hit. Suddenly, Tom was remixing  Loleatta Holloway, Eddie Kendricks and First Choice. By now he’d arrived, with the Tom Moulton remix a surefire sign of quality. Having invented the remix inadvertently, fate intervened again, with Tom inventing the twelve inch single.

The first twelve inch single was made cut purely because of fate and a shortage of seven inch singles. After remixing I’ll Be Holding On by Al Downing, Tom took that remix to have an acetate cut. However, when the single was going to be cut, engineer Jose Rodriguez realized that there were no seven inch singles left, so cut it on a twelve inch single. When Tom saw this, he realized that it didn’t look right. It looked like a seven inch single on a twelve inch piece of vinyl. Then Tom hit on the idea of spreading grooves so that they reached the end of the vinyl. The effect this had was to increase the volume and dynamic range because the groove was much wider. This mean the music was much louder than other singles, resulting in clubs and DJs complaining that the single nearly blowing their speakers. This begs the question, why didn’t they just adjust the volume? 

Although they might have complained about volume, they liked the break midway through Al Downing’s I’ll Be Holding On. Everything bar drums and percussion dropped out and then the started to rebuild. This was Tom’s way of dealing with a key change. He gradually took out parts one by one, leaving merely drums and percussion. This breakdown grabbed the attention of record companies, DJs and dancers, with people asking why didn’t Tom put these breakdowns in other records. After this Tom would add breakdowns to other tracks, something that’s since been copied by remixers worldwide. However, the next step in Tom’s career would see him Philly bound, where he’d remix some of his most famous mixes for Philadelphia International Records, which cane be heard on Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes.

In 1974 Tom discovered the Philly Devotions’ I Just Can’t Say Goodbye on the Don De label. Having worked on the track at home, Tom took this to Columbia Records in New York. They loved what he’d done, and wanted him to remix the track. Although Columbia offered to send the tapes to New York, Tom decided to head to Philadelphia, having fallen in love with the Philly Sound. 

Once he’d moved to Philadelphia, Tom fell in love with the city and its slower pace of life. He was constantly in demand. Having established himself in Philly, Tom hooked up with the two men who’d responsible for the Philly Sound, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. Gamble and Huff and Tom Moulton met through The Trammps manager Harry Chipetz. At first, Tom thought that Gamble and Huff hadn’t any need for Tom’s help. However, eventually, Harry Chipetz brought Tom into the “Philly family.” Initially, Harry brought the forthcoming albums about to be released, to see whether Tom could do anything with the music. The first song Tom chose was a People’s Choice track Do It Any Way You Wanna. However, when Tom first got involved with the Philly Sound, there was a backlash against with music coming out of Philly.

The problem was some people in the black community felt that the Philly Sound was being transformed into music for white people, with the addition of strings and horns. Tom like many people, was amazed and even annoyed. Tom decided to make a point, but needed the right track. He chose the People’s Choice track Do It Any Way You Wanna, mixing it without strings or horns. This would dispel the accusation that Philly were making soul music for white people. He offered to do the song without taking a fee, but asked for his name to be put on the label, which it wasn’t. On the release of Do It Any Way You Wanna, it became a huge hit, reaching number one in the US R&B Charts, while reaching the top twenty in the US Billboard 100. This would be the start of a long and fruitful relationship between Tom and Philadelphia International Records. Gamble and Huff would supply the soundtrack to the seventies and early eighties, with much of this music being remixed by Tom Moulton.

After the success of People’s Choice single Do It Any Way You Wanna, Harry Chipetz approached Tom with an idea to produce an album entitled Philadelphia Classics, complete with a cover of an old Rolls Royce on the album cover. This was because Harry saw the music as rich and classy, which it really is. There was one caveat, Tom couldn’t include M.F.S.B.’s Love Is the Message, as it had already been a hit. However, Tom wasn’t keen, because Love Is the Message was the track he desperately wanted to remix. Eventually, the label changed their mind, allowing Love Is the Message to be on the album. This changed Tom’s mind and his album of remixes went ahead, including Love Is the Message, the song which he’s most proud of. The resulting album was a huge success, and  over the next few years, Tom became Philadelphia International Records’ go-to-guy for remixes. Tom remixed many of the label’s biggest singles, with many of these tracks featuring on Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes, which I’ll now tell you about.

DISC 1.

Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes is a four-disc box set which features thirty-one tracks. These track are chronologically arranged, with Disc One covering the period between 8 July 1972 and the release of The O’Jays’ Back Stabbers to 6 October 1973 and the release of The Three Degrees’ Dirty Ol’ Man. In total, there are eight tracks on Disc One, with tracks from Philly giants The O’Jays who have two tracks on Disc One, while Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Billy Paul and The Three Degrees have one apiece. The other three tracks include a duo from The Intruders and one from Johnny Williams. Among the highlights of Disc One are The O’Jays’ Back Stabbers and Love Train, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes’ The Love I Lost and Billy Paul’s The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me, which I’ll tell you about.

The O’Jays released Back Stabbers on 8 July 1972, whilst Tom mixed the track in September 2011. This was from The O’Jays debut album for Philadelphia International Back Stabbers, reaching number ten in the US Billboard 200 and number three in the US R&B Charts. When released as a single, Back Stabbers reached number three in the US Billboard 100 and number one in the US R&B Charts. Opening with flourish of piano, rhythm section and chiming guitars that combine with lush sweeping strings, the introduction is extended by Tom. This gives way to the vocal, which is frustrated and angry vocal. Quickly, the lead vocal changes hands. Behind them a stunning arrangement unfolds. It’s an infectious combination of dramatic, yet beautiful music, thanks to the combination of lush strings, chiming guitars, piano and drums, while the horns and rhythm section deliver punchy, brief bursts of drama. When combined with the vocal the result is an O’Jays classic, made even better by Tom’s near ten minute masterpiece of a mix.

Billy Paul was Philadelphia International’s male superstar, releasing a string of successful albums, including 1974s War of the Gods, which reached number 110 in the US Billboard 200 and number twelve in the US R&B Charts. It featured The Whole Town’s Talking which Tom remixed in December 2011, totally transforming the track. The tempo is quicker, with a myriad of swirling strings, percussion and the rhythm section combining, during an extended introduction, before giving way to Billy’s vocal. It’s soft, full of sadness and regret, accompanied by backing vocalists. Behind him, the strings sweep, while the punchy rhythm section inject drama as Billy’s vocal grows in power. Flourishes of piano, percussion and the rhythm section combine when Billy’s vocal drops out, before the strings rejoin and the track starts to rebuild. Tom’s decision to extend this part of the track and highlight the frenzied, flourishes of piano is a masterstroke. After that Billy and his backing vocalists rejoin, as the track heads to its glorious finish, with an emotive and impassioned vamp from Billy. Truly, this is an irresistible remix from Tom Moulton, the godfather of the remix.

One of the biggest groups on Philadelphia International were Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, with The Love I Lost one of the many highlights of the Teddy Pendergrass era. This track was from their Black and Blue album, released in September 1973, reaching number five in the US R&B Charts and fifty-seven in the US Billboard 200. When The Love I Lost was released as a single, it reached number seven in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles’ charts and reached number one in the R&B Charts. Originally it was meant to be recorded as a ballad, but Kenny Gamble the cowriter and producer asked the group to speed the song up, and sing it with a swagger. In doing so, this transformed the track. Keyboards, then chiming guitars enter, before the pounding drums and strings sweep in. Here, Tom extends the glorious introduction, building up the drama, and providing the perfect backdrop for Teddy’s impassioned vocal. Meanwhile, the rest of the group compliment his lead vocal with tight harmonies, against an arrangement that’s dramatic and emotive. M.F.S.B., Philadelphia International’s house band surpassing themselves, producing a impassioned and dramatic arrangement. Here, Tom Moulton extends the track to over twelve minutes, allowing you to revel in the emotion and sadness of a true Philly classic, as a seminal arrangement reveals itself.

During the time The Three Degrees spent with Philadelphia International they recorded the best music of their career. This included The Three Degrees which reached number twenty-eight in the US Billboard 200 and thirty-three in the US R&B Charts. Dirty Ol’ Man only reached number fifty-eight in the US R&B Charts on its release as a single. As the track opens, the tempo is quick, with the arrangement having a fuller sound. Swirling, lush strings, a punchy rhythm section and chiming guitars are at the heart of the arrangement while Sheila’s voice is loud and scathing.  She’s accompanied by Valerie and Fayette’s equally powerful, backing vocals, which later become softer and subtle. Throughout the track the tempo is quick, with no let up in what’s a catchy, bright and sweeping arrangement. Part of the track’s success is down to the way the strings, guitars and quick, punchy rhythm section combine. Add to that the excellent vocals and it’s a winning combination. Remixed by Tom in October 1976, his remix adds to the track’s drama and emotion, highlighting the excellent arrangement and scathing vocals from Sheila. 

With so much great music on Disc One of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes, choosing just a few tracks to talk about wasn’t easy. After all, this meant neither mentioning The O’Jays classic Love Train nor tracks from The Intruders and Johnny Williams. Each of these tracks are worthy of mentioning giving their quality, especially since (Win, Place Or Show) She’s A Winner by The Intruders is one of Tom’s new remixes. However, given the importance of the tracks I’ve mentioned in the Philadelphia International story that wasn’t possible. Will choosing the best tracks on Disc Two be as difficult?

DISC TWO.

On Disc Two of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes the music covers the period from the release of The Trammps Love Epidemic on 29 December 1973, through to their single Trusting Heart on 23 November 1974. During this period, several of Philadelphia International’s most memorable tracks were released, including T.S.O.P. The Sound of Philadelphia by M.F.S.B. and The Three Degrees and the remix Tom Moulton is most proud of M.F.S.B.’s Love Is the Message. Meanwhile, The Trammps were going through the hottest period of their career, thanks to the Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section. Disc Two features four tracks from The Trammps, two from M.F.S.B. and The Three Degrees, plus Robert Upchurch’s The Devil Made Me Do It. With so many great tracks, choosing the highlights isn’t easy, but here goes.

T.S.O.P. The Sound of Philadelphia by M.F.S.B. and The Three Degrees reached number one in the US R&B and Billboard 100, and number twenty-two in the UK.   Opening quickly, a hugely melodic, soulful vocal is accompanied by cascading strings, rhythm section and percussion before it’s punctuated by bursts of horns. Quickly, this soulful sounding track is transformed into a beefy slice of funk, thanks to M.F.S.B. Then a rasping horn signals all change. This doesn’t worry The Three Degrees. They rise to this challenge. Their voices unite sweetly and soulfully, while M.F.S.B. give a funk laden masterclass. It’s a combination of driving rhythm section, blazing horns, percussion and not forgetting some grand, yet lush strings. Here, the vocal plays second fiddle to the arrangement, with the vocal drifting in and out of the arrangement. Still they give everything they have, as M.F.S.B. seemingly having brought their A-game produce a brilliant arrangement, funky yet soulful, made all the better with the help of The Three Degrees’ soulful interjections.

Where Do We Go From Here by The Trammps was released on 18 May 1974 and remixed by Tom in 1977. Featuring the legendary Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section and the vocal of Jimmy Ellis, this is one of The Trammps best tracks. Cascading strings, the rhythm section and backing vocalists combine as the track opens. The drums have Earl Young’s trademark sound, before the track heads to an extended string drenched break. When Jimmy’s vocal enter, it’s powerful and impassioned, accompanied by backing vocalists, while the strings sweep and swirl and the rhythm section drive the track along contributing drama and emotion. Listening to this track is quite poignant, given the sad death of Jimmy Ellis recently, but this track demonstrates his talent as a soul vocalist. Add in the greatest rhythm section of the seventies and give the track to the godfather of the remix Tom Mouton, and the result is five minutes of emotion, passion and drama.

Of all the tracks in the Philadelphia International back-catalogue, the one Tom wanted to remix was M.F.S.B.’s Love Is the Message, released in July 1974. Anyone who knows the track will realise why. Once Tom got the opportunity to remix the track in September 1976, this became a career defining track, lasting over eleven minutes. This is Tom’s Magnus Opus, the remix he’s most proud of. When the track opens it’s a mass of the lushest strings, blazing horns, percussion and the rhythm section. From its soulful beginnings, the track quickly decides to reveal its drama and delights. On the signal of the drums, a sizzling saxophone solo enter, while Lenny Pakula’s Hammond adds atmosphere. After that, the track briefly heads in a direction marked funk, before returning to its soulful sound. Later, the Three Degrees add their soulful strains, as the track combines soul and funk seamlessly. With Tom looping and extending parts, building up drama, then breaking it down, only to rebuild, no wonder he’s so proud of this track. He truly should be, it truly is one of his greatest remixes, one blessed with a contemporary, timeless sound, that sounds as good today as in 1976.

Choosing just a trio of tracks from Disc Two of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes wasn’t easy. The obvious choice were T.S.O.P. The Sound of Philadelphia by M.F.S.B. and Love Is the Message, but choosing just one Trammps track wasn’t easy. During their career, they recorded so many great tracks. They truly were a special group, being one of the first seventies disco band. With Baker, Harris, Young, part of M.F.S.B. and later, the Salsoul Orchestra, they’d the hottest rhythm section of the seventies. They feature on every track on Disc Two, and most of the tracks on this compilation. Add in Jimmy Ellis’ vocal to The Trammps and they were the complete package. Sadly, Jimmy died recently and these four tracks are a tribute to his talent and that of Baker, Harris, Young, who helped make this music so memorable.

DISC THREE.

By Disc Three of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes we’ve got to the period between the release of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes’ Bad Luck on 15 March 1973 and the release of People’s Choice Jam, Jam, Jam (All Night Long) on 15 January 1977. This includes music from Archie Bell and The Drells, Lou Rawls, The O’Jays and People’s Choice. Truly, it’s a veritable feast crammed full of the finest Philly soul. Again, choosing from such a feast of music is problematic, what to choose and what to leave out. Anyway, here goes.

Bad Luck was a track from Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes 1975 album To Be True, which reached number twenty-six in the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts, resulting in the group’s only album to be certified gold. The track has a bold, punchy introduction with the rhythm section, piano and percussion combining before Teddy’s powerful, passionate vocal enters. Strings enter, sweeping and swirling above Teddy’s vocal as he rues his Bad Luck. Then the rest of the group enter, contributing joyous, sweet backing vocals, as Teddy’s vocal takes centre-stage. Punchy, rasping horns enter as Teddy starts to vamp his way through this anthemic track. Like so many of Tom’s remixes, it has an irresistible, dramatic sound during its eight minutes. Not only has he the uncanny ability to know exactly what will work best, by extending and looping parts of the track, but his remixes have a timeless quality and are deserving of the work classic in the compilation’s title.

Lou Rawls’ You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine is one of his best known tracks. It’s from his All Things In Time album, released in June 1976. It reached number seven in the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts. When You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine was released as a single, it reached number two in the US Billboard 100, and number one in the US R&B Charts and US Dance Charts. What makes the track work so well is how Bobby Martin’s arrangement and Lou’s vocal unite. They compliment each other perfectly. Piano and rhythm section combine before Lou’s slow, smooth, sensuous vocal enters. As Lou sings, it’s almost call and response between Lou and the piano. He leaves a space which the piano fills dramatically. Then when the tempo increases, with drums, rasping horns and the piano adding brief flourishes of drama, Lou’s voice rises, becoming stronger, full of emotion and passion. Meanwhile, female backing vocalists cut in, their gentle voices a contrast to Lou’s powerful vocal. What makes this track is an arrangement that builds and builds. Layer upon layer of sumptuous music reveals itself, with the rhythm section and piano key to success of the track, with the horns adding just the finishing touch. Add to this Lou’s fantastic vocal, and the result is one of the best songs Lou Rawls ever recorded made even better by Tom’s magnificent mix recorded in September 2011.

Opening with a slow sultry saxophone solo, Where Will You Go When The Party’s Over by Archie Bell and The Drells quickly reveals its beauty. Joining the saxophone are hissing hi-hats, the rhythm section, keyboards and cascading strings. Together they produce a sound that’s sweet and dramatic. Then, the backing vocalists enter, before the strings and rhythm section drive the track along. Punchy, rasping horns enter before Archie’s vocal enters. It’s sassy and impassioned, accompanied by sensuous backing vocalists. With strings and horns accompanying Archie, the track takes on a joyous and uplifting sound that’s irresistible. By now the track has an anthemic quality. After the emotion and passion of the track, Tom inserts a break after five minute, allowing dancers to get their breath back. It’s just the piano and horn that combine, before Archie’s vocal reenters, becoming a vamp, as the track starts to rebuild gradually. By he end of this nine minute epic, you can only marvel at the talents of Tom Moulton. Using his considerable talent and a dancer’s ear, he remixed this track in December 2011, resulting in an anthemic, dance-floor classic for the twenty-first century.

Disc Three of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes sees the quality of music just get even better. With a combination of three classic mixes and four new remixes from 2011, Tom proves he’s still able to produce classic remixes. One of the best is his remix of Where Will You Go When The Party’s Over by Archie Bell and The Drells, which I’m sure will be one that DJs will love. Play that in a club and I’m sure the place will explode. It has an anthemic quality, and deserves its place beside  a classic like The O’Jays’ I Love Music. Another new remix is Lou Rawls’ You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, which is transformed into a ten minute epic. Truly, from track one to seven, Tom never misses a beat, with seven fantastic remixes, including four new ones. However, given Tom’s set the standard so high, will the music on Disc Four match the quality on the other three? 

DISC FOUR.

The fourth and final disc of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes covers the period between the release of Teddy Pendergrass’ I Don’t Love You Anymore on 30 April until the release of The Jones Girls Nights Over Egypt on 13 February 1982. This period covers the end of Teddy Pendergrass’ time with Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes and the start of his solo career. It also covers tracks from Philadelphia International veterans The O’Jays, through Lou Rawls second album and albums by  Blue Notes and the start of his solo career. It also covers tracks from Philadelphia International newcomers Jean Carn and The Jones Girls. Really, it covers the changing of the guard, with old favorites saying farewell to the label, new careers being launched and the next generation of artists signing for the label. This was an exciting time, as you’ll discover when I tell you about the highlights of Disc Four of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes.

I Don’t Love You Anymore was from Teddy Pendergrass’ solo album Teddy Pendergrass. Released in June 1977, it reached number seventeen in the US Billboard 200 and number five in the US R&B Charts, while I Don’t Love You Anymore, reached number five in the US R&B Charts and forty-one in the US Billboard 100. Opening with percussion, before blazing horns and swirling strings combine to provide a backdrop for Teddy’s quick, passionate vocal. Adding to an already joyful upbeat sound are piano, strings and backing vocalists whose voices unite soulfully. Later shimmering guitars interject, combining with a piano during a mini-breakdown. Then Teddy’s vocal drops way down, before quickly returning to it’s previous joyful, impassioned sound. Tom’s remix from October 2011 takes the song and combines Teddy’s impassioned vamp with a dramatic, string and horn drenched arrangement. In doing so, he transforms it, adding to it’s drama and passion, while giving it a contemporary sound.

Of the tracks Lou Rawls recorded for Philadelphia International, my favorite is See You When I Git There, from his Unmistakably Lou album, released in May 1977. It didn’t match the success of All Things In Time, reaching just number forty-one in the US Billboard 200 and number fourteen in the US R&B Charts. When See You When I Git There was released as a single, it only reached number sixty-six in the US Billboard 100 and number eight in the US R&B Charts. This is an uptempo track with a real feel-good sound, with pounding drums, an organ and chiming guitars combining during the extended introduction. They give way to a husky spoken word introduction from Lou. After this, the track quickens up, a lovely lush sound string laden sound, combining with percussion, rasping horns, rhythm section and guitars. Lou’s vocal is full of love and emotion, with female backing vocalists accompanying him. His vocal about going home to the woman he loves in beautiful, especially when sung against Bobby Martin’s stunning arrangement. The lush strings, rhythm section and guitars combine beautifully with the keyboards, and occasional bursts of horns. For me, this was one of the highlights of Lou’s career with Philadelphia International, given its timeless sound. Tom’s remix from November 2011 takes a great track and makes it even better, turning it into ten minutes of beautiful, lush string drenched music.

This Time Baby was a single from The O’Jays album So Full of Love. It reached number one in the US R&B Charts and number six in the US Billboard 200.Originally  arranged and produced by Thom Bell, a combination of swirling, sweeping strings, driving rhythm section, piano and guitars open the extended introduction. This builds and builds for three minutes, before a flourish of drums and strings eventually signal the entrance of the vocal. Against a quick arrangement, Eddie’s vocal enters. Meanwhile, Walt and Sammy contribute backing vocals, while blazing horns, swirling strings and a punchy rhythm section combine to create a fast, driving arrangement. Combined with the powerful vocal, it’s a winning combination, with the original four minute track transformed into a ten minute epic. What I love about Tom’s remix, is how the track builds and builds. It takes three minutes before the vocal enters. The sense of anticipation is tantalizing, as you await to see how Tom will structure the track. Thankfully the anticipation is matched by the delivery on another of Tom’s new remixes from December 2011.

My final choice from Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes is the final  track on the album, The Jones Girls, Nights Over Egypt, from their 1980 album Get As Much Love As You Can. Nights Over Egypt still retains the magical, timeless sound it had back in 1980. Opening with hissing hi-hats, the mystical, meandering introduction begins. A combination of synths, rhythm section, harp and acoustic piano combine. The funkiest of basses plays its part before the sisters unite to sing gentle, tight harmonies. Their voices grow in strength and power, as the  arrangement peaks, before giving way to a lush, almost mystical and exotic sound, before lush strings sweep and swirl, as the vocal rejoins. Jack Faith plays flute on the track, while gentle, rasping horns escape from the arrangement. By the end of the track, you realize that you’ve been fortunate enough to hear a classic remix, never before released from the godfather of the remix, Tom Moulton, a true musical genius and innovator.

Like the music on the previous three discs, Disc Four of Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes the music is just as good. This demonstrates Tom’s talent as a remixer. It’s a combination of classics and new tracks, with the music is of the highest quality. With the new tracks, Tom’s remixes are just as good as his older remixes, demonstrating that he’s still a hugely talented remixer. In fact, listening to these tracks, there much better than anything the new generation of remixers are producing. Compare these tracks, and its like master and pupil, with Tom very much the master. Other remixers are just pretenders to Tom’s throne. For nearly forty years, Tom Moulton has been remixing music, with his remixes some of the most innovative and influential in the history of music. Without Tom Moulton, music, especially dance music wouldn’t be the same. There would be no remixes, no twelve inch singles and maybe, no superstar DJs. Instead, DJs would still be scrambling about mixing seven inch singles, with dancers suffering when the momentum they’d built up dropped as they’d just got into the groove. Of course maybe another DJ would’ve invented the remix, but would fate have intervened for them and the twelve inch single have been born? Who knows, but they wouldn’t have had the influence, skill and determination Tom Moulton would have on music. I doubt it. Truly, Tom Moulton is one of the real heroes of music. On 26 March 2012, Philadelphia Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes a stunning four disc box set of thirty-one of his remixes will be released by Harmless Records. This gives everyone the opportunity to either rediscover or discover the genius of Tom Moulton, inventor of the remix, twelve inch single and remixer extraordinaire. Standout Tracks: Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes The Love I Lost, M.F.S.B. Love Is the Message, Archie Bell and The Drells Where Will You Go When The Party’s Over and Teddy Pendergrass I Don’t Love You Anymore.

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL CLASSICS-THE TOM MOULTON REMIXES.

7 Comments

  1. Robert Ouimet

    Congratulations to Mr Derek Anderson for this excellent well written and documented review ..I just can’t wait to put my hands on this superb comp & most of all play it in clubs and on my radio shows….

    • Hi Robert, I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed. The music is stunning, with Tom’s new remixes absolute classics. Try playing Tom’s remix of Archie Bell and The Drells Where Do You When the Party’s Over, it’s fantastic, a real anthem. There’s so much great music on the four discs you’ll be spoiled for choice. It’s only eight days until release. Enjoy, it’s well worth the wait.

      Best Wishes,
      Derek Anderson.

  2. Having Spoken to Tom and also had a preview listen to the collection, i agree with every word you say on this review Robert, I would also recommend to anybody looking for more of tom’s work, Philly Re-Grooved 1&2, The Salsoul Definitive Mixes, and “A Tom Moulton Mix” on SoulJazz Records.

    • Hi Keith,

      Thanks for your kind comments. I was hugely impressed by the tracks on Philadelphia International Classics-The Tom Moulton Remixes and really enjoyed reviewing the box set. It was great to hear the mixture of old classics and new remixes. I’ve previously reviewed Philly Regrooved 1 and 2 and The Salsoul Definitive Remixes will be reviewed very soon. It’s great to see that the Philadelphia International back catalogue is being revisited, with a ten disc box set planned for the start of April by Harmless and BBR releasing some of the label’s highlights last year. Thanks again for your comments Keith.

      Best Wishes,
      Derek Anderson.

      • Hi Derek, a lot has happened since this review which i’ve just come across searching for something else, thanks for your kind reference to your review. please contact me through my email address at any time .. look out for Joey Negro Remixed with love series and also Dimitri from Paris Get down with the Philly Sound..

        Rgds
        Keith

  3. Reblogged this on The Aransas.

    • Thanks for that, hope you and your readers enjoy the article.

      Best Wishes,
      Derek.

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