MFSB includes: Bobby Eli, Norman Harris, T.J. Tindall, Reginald Lucas, Roland Chambers (guitar); Tony Williams (flute, saxophone); Zach Zachary (alto saxophone); Eddie Green, Harold Williams (piano); Leon Huff (electric piano); Lenny Pakula (organ); Vince Montana (vibraphone); Ronnie Baker, Anthony Jackson (bass); Earl Young, Karl Chambers, Norman Farrington (drums); Larry Washington (bongos, congas).
Additional personnel includes: The Three Degrees.
Producers: Kenneth gamble, Leon Huff.
Reissue producers: Leo Sacks, Joe McEwen.
Principally recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1973. Originally released on Philadelphia International (32046). Includes liner notes by Joe McEwen.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This is part of Legacy's "Philly Soul Classics" series.
Personnel: Reggie Lucas, T.J. Tindall, Norman Harris, Roland Chambers, Bobby Eli (guitar); Tony Williams (flute, saxophone); Zach Zachary (alto saxophone); Leon Huff (electric piano); Lenny Pakula (organ); Vince Montana (vibraphone); Karl Chambers, Earl Young, Norman Farrington (drums); Larry Washington (congas, bongos).
Audio Mixer: Joe Tarsia.
Liner Note Author: Joe McEwen.
Recording information: Bailey's, London, England; Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, PA.
Photographer: Don Hunstein.
Arrangers: Vince Montana; Bobby Martin ; Kenny Gamble; Lenny Pakula; Leon Huff ; Norman Harris; Thom Bell.
MFSB's debut album was more of a soul-funk mix than the kind of disco for which the band would become known with their "T.S.O.P." hit. There's less of a thumping rhythm and a greater inclination to lengthy, occasionally jazzy instrumental grooves, as on the seven-minute cover of "Freddie's Dead" that opens the set. The group also made a fair instrumental workout of Sly Stone's "Family Affair," and put the flute in the lead for much of the arrangement of "Back Stabbers." It's pretty well-crafted instrumental soul that's not quite super-slick, though your attention might eventually wander if you're not using it as dance fodder. The lush pop inclinations that would form part of the bed of their later work (both as MFSB and backing numerous Philly soul artists) come more to the fore on some other tracks, particularly the grandiose "Poinciana," though even that breaks up the soaring violins with some tasty jazz-blues piano and guitar. The 2002 CD reissue on Epic/Legacy adds a live version of "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" (which is not, incidentally, otherwise represented on the album), with the Three Degrees on vocals, that was previously issued on the Three Degrees' 1975 album The Three Degrees Live. ~ Richie Unterberger