PHILLY REGROOVED: THE TOM MOULTON REMIXES-SPECIAL VINYL EDITION.
PHILLY REGROOVED: THE TOM MOULTON REMIXES-SPECIAL VINYL EDITION.
Just over three years ago, in August 2010, Harmless Records released the first installment in the Philly ReGrooved compilation series. Featuring twelve remixes of tracks from the Philly Grooved back-catalogue Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes was released to critical acclaim. One of the best releases of 2010, fans of Philly Soul waited with bated breath to see if a second installment would follow?
It did. Less that a year later, Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes was released in May 2011. With another eleven remixes from the Godfather of the remix, Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes enjoyed the same commercial success and critical acclaim of its predecessor. That whetted our appetite for further installments in the series.
2012 came and went with no sign of Volume 3. Nearly two years passed before Harmless Records announced the release of Volume 3. Unlike the first two volumes, Philly ReGrooved 3: The Tom Moulton Remixes would be a double-album. Released in June 2012, Volume 3 surpassed the first two installments. Featuring tracks from the back-catalogues of Atlantic, Atco, Buddah, Chelsea, Columbia, Defected and Roxbury, Volume 3 was crammed full of Philly Soul classics, including Blue Magic, The Spinners, The Trammps, New York City and William DeVaughan. Critics hailed Volume 3 as the best in the series. Plaudits, praise and critical acclaim came Tom Moulton and Harmless Records’ way for this two-disc opus. The only criticism of Volume 3 was, that it wasn’t available on vinyl. That is, until now, when Harmless Records will released another vinyl Magnus Opus.
It’s not just Philly ReGrooved 3: The Tom Moulton Remixes that can be found on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. No. There’s much, much more than that.Most of the three volumes of Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes Volumes can be found within this forty-track, eight-album box set. Released on 28th October 2013, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is a must-have for Philly Soul fans. Limited to just four-hundred box sets, this follows in the footsteps of limited edition vinyl box set of Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes, which was released by Harmless Records earlier this year. Before I tell you about Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, I’ll tell you about the man behind the music…Tom Moulton.
Tom Moulton was born in Schenectady, New York on 29th November 1940. He lived in Schenectady, upstate New York and later, spent time in Philadelphia. From an early age, Tom was collecting records. Count Basie’s One O’Clock Jump is the first record he bought, when he was just five. After that, Tom immersed himself in music. It’s almost as if he was absorbing all the music that had been ever recorded. This would prove useful for his future career as remixer extraordinaire. When Tom finished high school, he headed to California, where he got is first job in music.
His first involvement with the music industry was when he began working as an assistant buyer for Seeburg, the jukebox manufacturer, during the late-fifties. This allowed Tom to learn the ins and outs of the record industry. He proved shrewd at picking singles that would later prove popular. Two songs that proved this were Patsy Cline’s I Fall To Pieces and Ernie K. Doe’s Mother In Law. Tom bought 1,000 copies of each, almost costing him his job. Then when both singles became huge hits, many of Seeburg’s competitors didn’t have copies of these songs. Suddenly, Tom was the hero. However, he decided to leave Seeburg to work for Muntz, who’d just patented the eight-track tape machine. Having heard the possibilities that Muntz’s eight-track opened up, Tom was desperate to become part of something that could revolutionize car stereos. From Muntz, Tom joined one of the most important label of the time.
After leaving Muntz, Tom’s next job was with Syd Nathan’s King Records. During his time at King, Tom worked in sales and promotions. This was during a time when King had an unenviable roster of artists. This included Freddie King, Nina Simone, Hank Ballard and The Midniters, Little Willie John and the hardest working man in soul music..James Brown. Later, Tom moved to RCA and United Artists, where he worked in similar positions. By the late-sixties and disillusioned with the dishonesty and corruption that scarred music. With a heavy heart, Tom left the music industry.
Following his departure from the music industry, Tom worked in the record department of Crays department store in Boston. He became an advocate for stereo sound. When people came in looking to buy a single, they were loath to pay the higher price for the stereo versions. However, that was before Tom turned people onto the sound of stereo. Suddenly when Tom explained the difference between mono and stereo versions of singles, they realized that paying the higher price for the stereo version made sense, given the superior sound. His next job was completely different, and was how he was making a living before becoming a remixer.
Back in New York, Tom had embarked upon a career as a model. He was working on photographic shoots and as a catwalk model. While he was making a comfortable living, he missed music. Music was his real passion. It was in his blood, and what he was happiest doing. Then when a colleague in the modeling industry invited him to Fire Island to a diner and club the Sandpiper, he’d have a eureka moment that would forever change his life and music.
Having made the crossing on the ferry from New Jersey and arrived at the Fire Island, Tom headed to the Sandpiper. Little did he realize it, but he was about to change musical history. When watching a DJ at the Sandpiper he was matching the resident DJ mix the old seven inch singles. It was then 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, Tom 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. 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 he proudly gave ir 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.
After making his first disco mix, Tom set about finding new tracks to remix. Surprisingly, 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 things. 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. In 1974 Tom also discovered the Philly Devotions’ I Just Can’t Say Goodbye, on the Don De label. Having worked on the track at home, Tom took it 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.
When Tom discovered Philly, he fell in love with the city, and its much slower pace of life. So he took the decision to move there. This decision worked well, given Philly was at the centre of the American music industry. Tom was constantly in demand. Indeed, he once being booked into Joe Tarsia’s legendary Sigma Sound Studios for a year in advance. Having established himself in Philly, Tom hooked up with Gamble and Huff, two of the architects of the Philly Sound. Gamble and Huff met Tom through The Trammps manager Harry Chipetz. At first, Tom thought that Gamble and Huff hadn’t any need for Tom’s help. 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. Ironically, 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, 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 Soul was 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. However, Tom didn’t work exclusively for Philadelphia International Records in Philly. Not at all. He continued to remix an eclectic selection of artists, including some of the biggest names in music.
By 1975, Tom Moulton was getting the chance to remix some of the biggest names in music. One of his biggest successes came with Gloria Gaynor’s Never Can Say Goodbye. Tom took the first three songs on Side One of Never Can Say Goodbye and transformed them into a nineteen minute suite of songs. So successful was this medley of Honey Bee, Never Can Say Goodbye and Reach Out I’ll Be There within clubs, that the decision was made to release each track as a single. When Never Can Say Goodbye reached number one in the US Dance Charts, this really lifted Tom Moulton’s profile, opening doors for him in the process.
Soon, Tom Moulton had a column in Billboard magazine where he wrote about disco. He had also become the favored remixer for a record company with a strong Philadelphia influence. This was Salsoul Records, founded by the Cayre brothers. Salsoul had been transformed by the arrival of many of the original members of M.F.S.B, Philadelphia International Records’ legendary house-band. They’d left Philadelphia International Records after a dispute with Gamble and Huff over payments couldn’t be resolved. Having left Philadelphia International Records, they became The Salsoul Orchestra. Their 1975 debut album The Salsoul Orchestra sold over one-million copies. Quickly, Salsoul had established an enviable roster of artists. Soon their roster included Carol Williams, Charo, Moment Of Truth, Joe Bataan, Anthony White, Eddie Holman and of course, The Salsoul Orchestra. With such an illustrious roster, someone was needed to remix tracks. That’s where Tom Moulton came in. It was also a role he’d fulfill at a Salsoul subsidiary, Gold Mind Records.
Norman Harris, the legendary songwriter, producer and guitarist from the Baker, Harris, Young rhythm section was given his own subsidiary company Gold Mind Records to run. Its roster soon included First Choice, Double Exposure, Loleatta Holloway, Bunny Sigler and Love Committee. Again, Tom Moulton would become one of Gold Mind Records’ favored remixers. However, in 1978, Tom’s role at Salsoul would change, after Vince Montana Jr, left the label.
Vince Montana Jr, left Salsoul after the release of 1978s Up The Yellow Brick Road. He’d been involved in a dispute with royalties over royalty payments. When this couldn’t be resolved, Vince decided to part company with Salsoul. Following Vince’s departure, The Salsoul Orchestra had lost its founder, conductor and producer. Helping to fill the void was Tom Moulton. He mixed The Salsoul Orchestra’s 1979 album Street Sense and cowrote two tracks, Street Sense and 212 North 12th. Tom would also work with Loleatta Holloway, First Choice, Metropolis and Charo. It wasn’t just remixes Tom worked on at Salsoul, he was now a songwriter and producer. During Tom’s time at Salsoul, he released some of the best remixes of his career.
Many of Tom Moulton’s greatest remixes have made in Philly written all over them. During his time at Salsoul Records and Philadelphia International Records, Tom Moulton created some of the greatest remixes of his career. These remixes would become classic remixes, and would find their way into the record boxes of some of the world’s greatest DJs. Tom’s remixes became these DJs secret weapons, which were guaranteed to fill dance-floors worldwide. Through a new generation of DJs, a new generation of dancers heard Tom Moulton’s remixes. Soon, record companies were rereleasing Tom’s remixes. This started back in the mid-nineties and has continued ever since. One of the labels that have been most supportive of Tom Moulton, are Harmless Records, who released the first installment in the Philly ReGrooved series back in May 2010.
It was back in August 2010, that Harmless Records released the first installment in the Philly ReGrooved compilation series. Featuring twelve remixes of tracks from the Philly Grooved back-catalogue Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes was released to critical acclaim. This was a tantalizing taste of what was to come.
Less that a year later, Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes was released in May 2011. With another eleven remixes from the Godfather of the remix, Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes enjoyed the same commercial success and critical acclaim of its predecessor. Surely a third volume would follow sooner than later?
Nearly two years passed before Harmless Records released Philly ReGrooved 3: The Tom Moulton Remixes. Unlike the first two volumes, it was a double-album. Released in June 2013, Volume 3 surpassed the first two installments. Featuring tracks from the back-catalogues of Atlantic, Atco, Buddah, Chelsea, Columbia, Defected and Roxbury, Volume 3 was crammed full of Philly Soul classics. Blue Magic, The Spinners, The Trammps, New York City and William DeVaughan, critics hailed Volume 3 as the best in the series. These three installments of the Philly ReGrooved compilation series, are cherished by Philly Soul fans. Now forty of these tracks feature on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, which I’ll tell you about.
Over the eight slices of 180 grams, heavyweight vinyl, that comprise Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, you’ll find forty of Tom Moulton’s remixes. To fit the forty tracks on the eight albums, the running order is different from the original CDs. This is no bad thing. It’s akin to heading on a musical adventure. It takes place over sixteen sides of vinyl. Your musical guide is Tom Moulton. He has transformed the original tracks. During that musical adventure, you’re introduced to some of the biggest names in the history of Philly Soul. They feature on the musical adventure that is Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, which I’ll tell you about, side-by-side.
Opening Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, is Ultra High Frequency’s We’re On The Right Track, which opened 2010s Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes. Released in 1973, on the Wand label, it was written by Alan Felder and Norman Harris, who arranged and produced the track. Featuring Ben Aitken, the recording took place at Joe Tarsia’s Sigma Sound Studios. For nearly three minutes, Tom Moulton extends the introduction, building and building the drama. This allows you enjoy M.F.S.B. at their very best. Then Tom drops the vocal in, what follows is a reinvention of this Philly Soul classic, which was Ultra High Frequency’s biggest hit single.
Between 1973 and 1980, First Choice released six albums. Their debut album was 1973s Armed and Extremely Dangerous. The title-track was penned by Alan Felder and Norman Harris who arranged and produced Armed and Extremely Dangerous. It was their breakthrough single, reaching number twenty-eight in the US Billboard 100 and number eleven in the US R&B Charts. Then when Armed and Extremely Dangerous was released in 1973, it reached number 184 in the US Billboard 200 and number fifty-five in the US R&B Charts. Featuring a vocal powerhouse from lead singer Rochelle Fleming, she mixes power, passion and emotion with frustration and regret. It’s a track ripe for a Tom Moulton remix. Especially when you add the warning signs that come courtesy of M.F.S.B. Tom doesn’t disappoint with this track from Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes. He transforms this hook-laden track that launched First Choice’s career into an opus.
The Quickest Way Out’s Who Am I is a track from Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes. This was their third and final single. Released on Warner Bros in 1976, James Dean and John Glover penned this track. Arranged by Arnold Coley Jr, it was produced by Stan Watson owner of Philly Groove Records. The result is soulful dance track, which is something of a hidden gem, that would still light up a dance floor.
This Is The House (Where Love Died) is another track from First Choice’s 1973, debut album Armed And Extremely Dangerous. It was also their debut single. Released on Wand, it failed to chart. Written by Alan Felder and Norman Harris, who arranged and produced the track. Tom remix featured on 2010s Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes. With a choppy, Northern Soul sound, Rochelle finds her inner diva on a track sounds as if it would’ve been played at Blackpool Mecca by Ian Levine.
The Philly Groove Orchestra’s Let Us Entertain You, which features First Choice, epitomizes everything that’s good about Philly Soul. Swathes of the lushest, quivering strings, rasping, growling horns and a rhythm section that’s like a well oiled machine. Essentially, this is M.F.S.B. under a different name. They never miss a beat. Then there’s cooing harmonies courtesy of First Choice. The result is three minutes of perfection, that’s a reminder of why you love Philly Soul.
Forty years ago, Ultra High Frequency released Incompatible on Wand. Back in 2011, Tom Moulton remixed Incompatible for Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes. Sadly, Incompatible didn’t replicate the success of We’re On The Right Track. Soulful, dance-floor friendly and full of poppy hooks, Incompatible should’ve been a much bigger success. Instead, it falls into the category of hidden gem that thankfully, was rejuvenated by Tom Moulton.
A welcome addition to Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes was Finishing Touch’s Second Best (Is Never Enough). Released on Stan Watson’s Philly Grooved in 1974, it was penned by Andre Saunders and Herby Harris. Arranged by Ron “Have Mercy” Kersey and produced Stan Watson and Win Winford, it’s a joyous and uplifting fusion of Philly Soul and disco. Add to that gospel-tinged harmonies, a diva-esque vocal and a profusion of hooks, and the result is four minutes of musical magic.
Gotta Get Away (From You Baby) was the B-Side of First Choice’s 1976 single Yes, Maybe No. It was arranged by Bobby “Electronic” Eli and produced by Stan Watson, with M.F.S.B. providing the backdrop for First Choice. It’s a track from First Choice’s 1976 album Let Us Entertain You. Philly Grooved licensed the album to Warner Bros. This was meant to be First Choice’s breakthrough album. It wasn’t. Instead the album failed to chart.
With First Choice and M.F.S.B. were at the top of their game, Gotta Get Away (From You Baby) deserved a better fate than being hidden away on a B-Side. Tom realized this and brought new life, meaning and energy to the track.
Between 1969 and 1972, The Delfonics formed a potent partnership with Thom Bell, one of the architects of Philly Soul. After 1972s Tell Me It’s A Dream, Thom split with The Delfonics. So, their final album 1974s Alive and Kicking, which featured I Told You So, was produced by Stan Watson. Released on Philly Groove in 1974, Alive and Kicking Reached number 205 in the US Billboard 200 and number thirty-four in the US R&B Charts. The following year, 1975, The Delfonics called time on their career. One of the highlights of their farewell album Alive and Kicking, was the sweet, soulful I Told You So.
Gonna Keep On Lovin’ Him was the B-Side to First Choice’s 1973 single Armed And Extremely Dangerous. It was written by Melvin and Mervin Steals, under the pseudonym Mystro and Lyric. Arranged, conducted and produced by Norman Harris, the single was released on Philly Grooved Records. Here, M.F.S.B. explode into life, providing the perfect accompaniment to First Choice. This teaches you always to check on the B-Side of a singe. After all, who knows what delights might be hidden away?
One of the bonus tracks on 2010s Philly ReGrooved: Tom Moulton Remixes was Finishing Touch’s Don’t Put Me Down. Released in 2003 on Vocal Bizz Recordings, it’s Philly Soul with a contemporary twist. There’s everything you expect on a Philly Soul track. Strings, horns and band who mix funk, soul and disco. Add to that a needy vocal and pleading harmonies. When all that’s combined by Tom Moulton, the result is a reminder of what soul used to sound like.
Armed and Extremely Dangerous was the launched First Choice. It’s the best album they recorded for Philly Groove Records. One Step Away closed the album. Penned by M.F.S.B. bassist Ron Baker and Thom Bell, Norman Harris arranged and produced the track. With M.F.S.B. providing a jaunty, Spanish-influenced backdrop, Tom Moulton tantalizes the listener. Extending the introduction, he eventually drops in Rochelle’s feisty vocal. The interplay between Rochelle and the harmonies plays a huge part in the song’s success. Driving each other to greater heights of soulfulness, First Choice were One Step Away from greatness.
Beware, She’s Pulling My Strings is another track that proves it’s always worth checking out B-Sides. Released in 1978 on Philly Groove Records, by The Quickest Way Out under their Flashlight alias it surpasses I Can Be (What You Want Me To Be). Penned by James Dean and John Glover, and produced by Adam and Eve, Tom Moulton transforms it into a seven-minute epic. Crucial to the track are the vocal and a myriad of percussive delights and drama. They play their part in another hidden gem.
Moment Of Truth’s I’m So Hopelessly In Love With You grabs your attention from the get-go. Released on Roulette in 1975, Reid Whitelaw and Norman Bergen wrote and produced this single. Tom builds and builds the drama. He’s relentlessly teasing the listener. As instruments are dropped in, he lengthens the introduction. So, you hear more of the lush strings, punchy horns, soaring, sultry harmonies, percussion and Vince Montana Jr’s vibes. From there, this vocal quartet trade soulful licks, as Philly Soul and disco unite. Two years later, unsurprisingly, Moment Of Truth released their eponymous debut album on Salsoul Records, disco’s premier label. Sadly, it was the only album they’d release and like I’m So Hopelessly In Love With You, is tantalizing taste of what Moment Of Truth were capable of.
Smarty Pants is the sixth and final track from First Choice on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. This was that track that opened First Choice’s 1973 album Armed And Extremely Dangerous. Released as a single in 1973, it reached fifty-six in the US Billboard 100 and number twenty-five in the US R&B Charts. Written by Alan Felder and Norman Harris, who arranged and produced the track, this is one of First Choice’s finest moments, starting their career as they meant to go on, mixing Philly Soul, funk and disco seamlessly.
There’s just two tracks on Side F of Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. They however, fall into the category of epics. The first is Moment Of Truth’s Love At First Sight. An unreleased track, it clocks in at seven-minutes. Philly Soul, funk, jazz and disco melt into one during the arrangement, which features The Sweethearts Of Sigma adding breathy harmonies. Why a track as good as this, never saw the light of day seems a mystery?
Terry Collins’ Actions Speaks Louder Than Words is another seven minute fusion of musical genres and influences. Written and produced by one of The Young Professionals, Bobby “Electronic” Eli, it was released in 1973 on Kwanza Records. Against a laid-back, understated jazz-tinged backdrop, Terry Collins’ vocal emerges. It stops you in your tracks. Strong, powerful and full of emotion, diva-esque is a fitting description of Terry’s spellbinding delivery. She trades licks with her backing vocalists, fusing soul and gospel, reaching previously unreached heights. As for Tom’s remix, he extents the track by four minutes, allowing you to revel in the track’s delights.
Loose Change feature twice on Side G of Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. Straight From The Heart is their contribution. Released as a single in 1979, it’s a track from their eponymous album. Written by Grey and Hanks, and produced by Tom Moulton, Loose Change are accompanied by John Davis and His Monster Orchestra. They play an important part in a track that’s soulful and dance-floor friendly.
Rising Cost Of Love is the other contribution from Loose Change. It’s also from their 1979 eponymous album. Written by Grey and Hanks with legendary arranger, producer and songwriter Bobby Martin, there’s a slightly tougher, funkier sound to this track. A fusion of funk, Philly Soul and disco, like Straight From The Heart, hooks aren’t in short supply.
Tapestry only released a handful of singles between 1967 and 1976. Their sophomore single was Big Stone Wall (Around Your Heart). Released on Philly Groove Records, it was written by Richard Mason and Thomas White. Arranged by John Davis, Billy Devine and Leo Donald produced this musical Tapestry. Tom Moulton extends the introduction and then the break. By doing that, you can enjoy swathes of dancing strings. They sweep you away, taking you on a magical musical journey, that lasts four glorious minutes.
TJM was a short-lived studio band put together by Tom Moulton. They released just one album and single. The album was TJM and the single Put Yourself In My Place, which was penned by Alfie Davidson. Featuring vocals from The Brotherhood, Tom decided to revisit Put Yourself In My Place on 2011s Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes. He transforms the track to a seven soulful and funky minutes. This results in something of a hidden gem. Sadly, with disco experiencing a near death experience in 1979, that was all that we heard from TJM. Who knows what they may have achieved if things had been different?
Heaven and Hell Watcha’s Gonna Do was one of two bonus tracks on Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes. Released on Italy’s D:Vision Records in 2006, it was a track written and produced by Reid Whitelaw and Norman Bergen. It’s Philly Soul with a 21st Century makeover from the man they call The Master.
From Side I right through to Side P, it’s Philly Philly ReGrooved 3: The Tom Moulton Remixes all the way. This includes tracks from labels that include Atlantic, Atco, Buddah, Chelsea, Columbia, Defected and Roxbury. Featuring a who’s who of Philly Soul, the next eight sides feature old friends and a smattering of hidden gems.
Between 1973 and 1974, soul group New York City released two albums for Chelsea Records. Their debut album was 1973s I’m Doin’ Fine Now, produced by Thom Bell. He also produced 1974s Soulful Road, which proved to be New York City’s final album. I’m Doin’ Fine was New York City’s biggest hit. It was written by Sherman Marshall and Thom Bell, who arranged and produced the track. SInce its release in 1973, I’m Doin’ Fine has remained something of a hidden soulful gem. Thankfully Tom Moulton’s peerless remix gives everyone the opportunity to relive and rediscover this track’s delights all over again.
Son’s Of Robin Stone’s Got To Get You Back is Philly Soul all the way. This was their 1974 debut single, written by the Grammy Award winning songwriting partnership of Vinnie Barrett and Bobby “Electronic” Eli. Bobby also conducted, arranged and produced this track, which features members of M.F.S,B. providing the backdrop for Son’s Of Robin Stone. Vinnie and Bobby would later write Blue Magic’s classic Sideshow which featured on their debut album Blue Magic and Major Harris’ sensual classic Love Won’t Let Me Wait. Sadly, Son’s Of Robin Stone’s Got To Get You Back didn’t enjoy the same success as these tracks, but is a deliciously underrated slice of Philly Soul that gets a new lease of life from Tom Moulton.
The Spinners are one of the legends of Philly Soul. Their fortunes were transformed by producer Thom Bell. The album that started this transformation was 1973s Spinners. It featured Could It Be I’m Falling In Love and One Of A Kind Love Affair. It was written by Joseph B. Jefferson and arranged, conducted and produced by Thom Bell. M.F.S.B. provide the backdrop for Philippe Wynne’s lead vocal, while Bobby Smith delivers just two lines during the bridge, which follows the first verse.
One Of A Kind Love Affair was released as the followup single to Could It Be I’m Falling In Love. It reached number eleven in the US Billboard 100 and gave The Spinners their third number one consecutive US R&B single, following in the footsteps of I’ll Be Around and Could It Be I’m Falling In Love. This was just the start of the most successful period in the careers of The Spinners and producer Thom Bell. The Spinners would become one of the most successful groups in the history of Philly Soul, while Thom Bell establish his reputation as one of the architects of Philly Soul.
Could It Be I’m Falling In Love is a stonewall Philly Soul classic. It was written by Melvin and Mervin Steals under the pseudonym Mystro and Lyric. This was a track from The Spinners’ third album Spinners, released in 1974 on Atlantic Records. Spinners marked a change in fortune for The Spinners. Neither 1967s The Original Spinners, nor 1970s 2nd Time Around was a commercial success. Then when The Spinners headed to Philadelphia and hooked up with producer Thom Bell, their luck changed. Thom Bell brought the legendary Philadelphia International Records’ house-band M.F.S.B. onboard. The Spinners on Spinners when the recording began at Joe Tarsia’s Sigma Sound Studios. When recording of Could It Be I’m Falling In Love began, Thom decided the song should be slowed down. His decision was crucial and the result was a timeless Philly Soul classic.
Formed In Philly, and famed for their vocal harmonies which was combined with a disco sound, the Philly Devotions released a six singles between 1973 and 1976. Their best known single and I’d say, career highlight, was a cover of Little Anthony and The Imperials’ 1965 classic Hurt So Bad. It was released in 1976 on Columbia and was produced by John Davis, who later, went on to form John Davis and The Monster Orchestra. Tom Moulton was responsible for the mix of Hurt So Bad, which is perceived as one of Tom’s greatest remixes and his 2013 remix breathes new life, meaning and energy into a classic track.
Just like The Spinners, New York City have two tracks on Philly Re-Grooved Volume 3 Tom Moulton Remixes. The second contribution from New York City on Philly Re-Grooved Volume 3 Tom Moulton Remixes, is Quick, Fast In A Hurry, which features the vocal talents of Claude Johnson, John Brown, Tim McQueen and Ed Schell. Quick, Fast In A Hurry was written by Linda Creed and Thom Bell, who arranged and produced the track. This was their sophomore single and the followup to I’m Doin’ Fine. It also featured on their 1973 debut album on Chelsea Records, I’m Doin’ Fine Now and is a captivating reminder of one of Philly Soul’s finest purveyors.
Bettye Swann-When The Game Is Played On You. One of the most underrated soul singers of the sixties and seventies is Bettye Swann. Quite simply, Bettye Swann is one of soul music’s best kept secrets. Her career started in the early sixties, when she was a member of The Fawns. Then in 1964, Bettye embarked on a solo career. Don’t Wait Too Long the first of a series of singles she released for Money Records. Three years later, Bettye released her debut album Make Me Yours. By 1968, Bettye’s talent had attracted the interest of Capitol Records.
In 1969, Bettye signed to Capitol Records, releasing The Soul View Now! and Don’t You Get Tired Of Hurting Me. Sadly, Bettye didn’t enjoy the commercial success her undeniable talent deserved. When she left Capitol, she released I’m Just Living A Lie for Fame in 1971. Next stop for Bettye was Atlantic Records. Her Atlantic debut single Victim Of A Broken Heart reached the US R&B top twenty. Then in 1974, Bettye recorded Tony Bell and Phil Hurtt’s Time To Say Goodbye. Tony arranged the track and he and Phil produced the song with LeBaron Taylor. Since then, it has remained one soul music’s hidden gems, which showcases one of the greatest voices in soul music. However, Tom’s remix will bring When The Game Is Played On You to a new, and much wider audience.
During the seventies, Buddah Records established a roster of that included some of the most successful artists in music. This included Gladys Knight and The Pips, Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, The Trammps and Melba Moore. Unfortunately in 1977, Buddah Records began to experience financial problems. This was only rectified when Buddah signed a distribution deal with Clive Davis’ Arista Records. These financial problems coincided with Melba Moore’s time at Buddah Records.
Between 1975 and 1977, Melba Moore released four albums for Buddah. Starting with 1975s Peach Melba, through 1976s This Is It and Melba, Melba’s career at Buddah ended with 1977s A Portrait Of Melba, which included the single Standing Right There. Of the four albums, A Portrait Of Melba was her least successful album, failing to chart. Despite this, Standing Right There reached number sixty-two in the US R&B Charts. It was written and produced by McFadden and Whitehead with Victor Castarphen. Now thirty-six years after its release, Standing Right There has been given a disco makeover by Tom Moulton, which totally transforms the track. One listen and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Founded in Camden, New Jersey in 1968, by Jenny Holmes, David Beasley, Clarence Vaughan and James Tuten, The Ebonys were a soul quartet who many people compare to The Dells. Both groups established their reputation delivering bold, dramatic ballads. They were discovered by Leon Huff of Philadelphia International Records.
Leon Huff signed The Ebonys to Philadelphia International Records. They released several singles and one album between 1971 and 1974. Their debut singles was 1971s You’re The Reason Why, with singles like I’m So Glad I’m Me and I Believe following. Then in 1973, The Ebonys released their only album for Philadelphia International Records,The Ebonys. A year later, The Ebonys left Philadelphia International Records and signed to Neil Bogarty’s Buddah Records.
Now signed to Buddah Records, The Ebonys’ label debut was 1974s Making Love Ain’t No Fun (Without The One You Love). It was written by Allan Felder and Norman Harris. Norman arranged and produced the track, while Tom Moulton remixed the single. However, when The Ebonys’ 1976 sophomore album Sing About Life was released on Buddah Records, Making Love Ain’t No Fun (Without The One You Love) didn’t feature on the album. Now for Philly Re-Grooved Volume 3 Tom Moulton Remixes, Tom Moulton has transformed Making Love Ain’t No Fun (Without The One You Love) into an eight-minute masterpiece. This to me, is one of the most welcome inclusions on Philly Re-Grooved Volume 3 Tom Moulton Remixes, and Tom Mouton deserves our thanks for this epic remix.
David Morris Jr’s career started in the sixties and last right through to the early eighties. He released just a handful of singles. Having released singles on Phillips and Plush Records, next stop for David was Buddah Records. That’s where he released the double A-Side Midnight Lady/Jack In The Box in 1976. Jack In The Box was written by Ernest Smith and T.J. Tindall, who was a guitarist in M.F.S.B. and The Salsoul Orchestra. Producing Jack In The Box were Bud Ross and Ed Biggins, while Tom Moulton remixed the track giving it a delicious dance-floor friendly sound.
Ron Hall and The Motherfunkaz featuring Marc Evans’The Way You Love Me was one of two bonus tracks on Philly Re-Grooved Volume 3: Tom Moulton Remixes. This near thirteen-minute epic remix of The Way You Love Me was released in June 2006 on Defected and was mixed by Tom Moulton. Vince Montana Jr, formerly of M.F.S.B. and The Salsoul Orchestra, plays vibes and arranged the strings on The Way You Love Me, giving the track an unmistakable Philly Soul influence.
For many people, The Trammps are disco’s most soulful group. Mind you, with the legendary Jimmy Ellis as their lead singer, that’s so surprise. The Trammps were formed back in the sixties as The Volcano, but after various changes in personnel, became The Trammps in the seventies. They released ten albums between 1975 and 1984. However, it was at Buddah Records their career started.
Hold Back The Night was written by Ron Baker, Norman Harris and Earl Young with Allan Felder. It was arranged by Norman Harris and produced by Baker, Harris Young. On its release in 1975 on Buddah, it gave The Trammps the biggest hit of their career, reaching number thirty-five in the US Billboard 100 and number ten in the US R&B Charts. Over in the UK, Hold Back The Night reached number five and is one of Jimmy Ellis’ finest moments as lead singer of The Trammps.
The third and final artist to have two tracks on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is Bettye Swann. Her second contribution is Kiss My Love Goodbye, which was released on Atlantic in 1974. Kiss Your Love Goodbye was written, arranged and produced by the same personnel as When The Game Is Played On You. It was written Phil Hurtt and Tony Bell who arranged the track. Under the guise of The Young Professionals, Phil and Tony Kiss My Love Goodbye with LeBaron Taylor. Like When The Game Is Played On You, it demonstrates that Bettye Swann is one of soul music’s best kept secrets.
When Tom Moulton’s brother Jerry discovered the members of Loose Change, they were performing under a different name. However, Tom felt the group’s name didn’t suit the songs he had in mind for them. So Becky Anderson, Donna Beene and Leah Gwin became Loose Change for their 1979 album Loose Change, which was released on Casablanca Records.
For recording of Loose Change’s debut album Loose Change, recording took place at Philly’s Sigma Sound Studios. A number of songwriters worked on Loose Change. For the album opener, Tom and Thor Baldursson, who Tom worked with at Salsoul cowrote Babe. It features members of M.F.S.B. who accompany Loose Change. The result was a track that’s Euro Disco, albeit with a twist. On the release of Loose Change in 1979, it failed to chart. However, Loose Change is seen as one of the finest albums of its type and is a tantalizing reminder of the talents of Loose Change.
There aren’t many people who go from being a drafting technician to writing and recording a two-million selling single. This is what happened to William DeVaughn. He’d written a song called A Cadillac Don’t Come Easy. It was then rewritten to become Be Thankful For What You’ve Got. The song was then given a smoother arrangement by Allan Felder, and once it was completed, William and members of M.F.S.B. entered Joe Tarsia’s Sigma Sound Studios in Philly. When it was recorded, it was released in 1974 and transformed William’s career.
Be Thankful For What You’ve Got was released on Chelsea Records in 1974. It reached number four in the US Billboard 100 and number one in the US R&B Charts, selling over two-million copies. This resulted in the single being certified platinum. Later in 1974, William released his debut album Be Thankful For What You’ve Got. Although it was a commercial success, it didn’t replicate the success of his debut single.
While William released further singles, the single Give The Big Man A Helping Hand gave him a minor commercial success. Soon, William lost interest in the music, and eventually, returned to his old job. He would make a comeback in 1980, releasing his sophomore album Figures Can’t Calculate The Love I Have For You. After that, he dabbled in music, but never revisited the commercial success and critical acclaim of his seminal track Be Thankful For What You’ve Got, which in the hands of Tom Moulton’s takes on new life, resulting in one of Tom’s best remixes on Philly Re-Grooved Volume 3 Tom Moulton Remixes.
The final track on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, is The Modulations-I Can’t Find Your Love. Like so many seventies soul groups, The Modulations, who were signed to Buddah Records between 1973 and 1975, headed to Philadelphia in search of fame, fortune and a Philly Soul makeover. For new groups, there were many producers just waiting to try and transform a group’s career, including Gamble and Huff, Thom Bell, Norman Harris, John Davis, Vince Montana Jr. and Bobby “Electronic” Eli. It wasn’t any of these producers The Modulations turned to.
Instead, The Modulations hooked up with the songwriting and production team of Currington, Blunt, Lester, Lester and Brown, who produced and cowrote The Modulations’ 1973 debut single I’m Hopelessly In Love. They also produced 1974s I Can’t Find Your Love, which featured on their 1975 album It’s Rough Out There. This turned out to be The Modulations only album. However, if a group is only going to release just one album, make it one as good as It’s Rough Out There. Similarly, with a single as good as I Can’t Find Your Love, there’s only remixer to get to remix it…Tom Moulton. Proof of that is Tom’s near nine-minute musical masterpiece.
Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is not just the result of three years work for Tom Moulton. No. Far from it. It’s the cumulation of five decades work. For five decades Tom Moulton has been honing his skills as a remixer. It’s only through hard work, determination and being a perfectionist that Tom was able to produce remixes as good as those on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. Take it from me, it takes time, experience, dedication and a huge amount of skill to create remixes as good as those on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. From the opening bars of Ultra High Frequency’s We’re On The Right Track on Side A, right through to the final notes of The Modulations’ I Can’t Fight Your Love which closes Side P of Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, Tom Moulton never once lets his standards drop. Always, the remixes are of the highest quality. That’s why Tom gained the nickname The Master, which isn’t not his only nickname.
He’s also known as The Godfather of the remix. Indeed before Tom Moulton came along, there was no such thing as a remix. Tom went away and worked out how do a rudimentary remix. Since then, he’s remixed an incredible 5,000 tracks. Compare Tom’s remixes, including the forty on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition and its like master and pupil, with Tom very much the master. Other remixers are just pretenders to Tom’s throne.
For nearly five decades 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. So anyone who either makes their living from music or loves music, owes Tom Moulton a real debt of gratitude. He truly is one of the heroes of music, worthy of being referred to as an innovator and visionary. Tom Moulton is also one of the architects of Philly Soul.
Of the 5,000 tracks Tom has remixed, some of his best known remixes took place in what was for a while, his adopted hometown Philly. Back then, when Philly Soul and disco provided the soundtrack to the seventies. Many of these feature on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. These forty tracks transport us back to another era, one where Philly Soul and disco were King. Although forty years is over a generation ago, you wouldn’t realize it. The music on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is truly timeless. It’s aged like a fine wine. Not only that, it brings back memories of musical visionaries like Vince Montana Jr, Norman Harris, Gamble and Huff, Thom Bell. Then there’s M.F.S.B, The Salsoul Orchestra, The Sweethearts Of Sigma, Baker, Harris, Young and John Davis and His Monster Orchestra. They’ve one thing in common with Tom Moulton.
Each one of them are architects of Philly Soul. Tom deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as them. He helped give their music a new lease of life. He totally transformed Philly Soul and is introducing what is the greatest soul music to another generation of music lovers. That ensures that Philly Soul will continue to be one of the most popular and memorable musical genres of the past sixty years. For keeping Philly Soul alive, Tom Moulton deserves great credit and our thanks. He also deserves our thanks for remixing some of the greatest music of the past five decades. This includes creating the forty stunning remixes which feature on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition. They’re among the finest remixes of Tom Moulton’s long and illustrious career. As for Harmless Records, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is one of its best releases.
Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition will be released by Harmless Records on 28th October 2013. A luxurious and lovingly compiled compilation, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition features some of the best Philly Soul to fill airwaves and dance-floors. Quite simply, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition isn’t just an incredible compilation, but a thing of beauty. That’s almost one of the great understatements. Quite simply, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is one of the best box sets of 2013. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes. Just like Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition is something to cherish. However, you’ll need to be quick.
After all there are only 400 copies of Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition available. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. Quickly, they’ll become a collector’s item. However, music I believe, is meant to be heard, not hidden away. So good is the music on Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, that it would a crime not listen to it. My advice is, listen to Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, let it into your life, love it and cherish the forty remixes from Tom Moulton, The Godfather of the remix and the man they call The Master.
PHILLY REGROOVED: THE TOM MOULTON REMIXES-SPECIAL VINYL EDITION.
- Posted in: Disco ♦ Philadelphia Soul
- Tagged: M.F.S.B., Norman Harris, Philly ReGrooved 2: The Tom Moulton Remixes, Philly ReGrooved 3: The Tom Moulton Remixes, Philly ReGrooved-The Tom Moulton Remixes-Special Vinyl Edition, Philly ReGrooved: The Tom Moulton Remixes, The Sweethearts of Sigma, Tom Moulton, Vince Montana Jr