Rolling Stone - 12/24/98-1/2/99
"...Drawn from the catalogs of labels like Arctic and Phil-L.A. of Soul, this collection captures local R&B at a vital juncture, as doo-wop and the impact of Motown mutated into the sublime grandeur of Philadelphia International..."
Includes liner notes by John Ridley.
Although a couple of the groups on this compilation of Philly soul from 1964-1971 are well known (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Brenda & the Tabulations), the Fantastic Johnny C's "Boogaloo Down Broadway" and the Tabulations' "Right on the Tip of My Tongue" are the only cuts that will be readily recognizable to general fans. It's a grab bag of odds and ends, most fairly interesting. The Volcanos were one of the first groups that Gamble & Huff worked with, and several members would resurface in the Trammps. The two Harold Melvin cuts were done back in 1964, when John Atkins and not Teddy Pendergrass, was the lead singer; "Get Out (And Let Me Cry)" is a nice, murky-fidelity Northern soul-type stomper. "The Touch of You," a substantial soul hit though not a pop one, was one of Brenda & the Tabulations' most exquisite ballads. Daryl Hall was part of the blue-eyed soul group Temptones, whose two 1967 A-sides are here. There are also a couple of rare cuts by Kenny Gamble, working as a solo artist in 1966. Overall, several of the cuts have a lighter dance feel, influenced at times by Motown, than the sweet and swirling sound that most associate with late-'60s and early-'70s Philly soul. Not an anthology you'd direct listeners toward if you want them to hear the typical vintage Philly soul sound, but not a bad one for those who have all the well-known stuff in the genre and want to go further. ~ Richie Unterberger