Three Degrees- ST

This little gem was $4.  I got it to diversify the blog which is much needed given where the second half of September is heading.  What is this you say?  Well, stay tuned to find out.

Formed in Philadelphia, and rising up with the Philadelphia Sound of the 1970’s, The Three Degrees started their career in 1963..  This is the second studio album and the first on Philadelphia International Records, the label of Gamble and Huff (and Thom Bell).  Released in 1973, this features the group with the lineup that brought them their biggest hits.  This lineup, which formed from 1967- 1976, featured original member Fayette Pinkney along with Valerie Holiday, and Shelia Ferguson.  Consequently, a version led by Holiday still performs today.

Link to The Three Degrees’ Web Site

Anyway, back to the record, it was among one of their most successful and spawned four singles; “Dirty Ol’ Man”, “I Didn’t Know”, “Year of Decision” and ” When Will I See You Again”, which went to #2 in the US and #1 in the UK.

For a sample, I decided to go with “Can’t You See What You Are Doing To Me”.

Pretty good album.  Satisfactory.


The Stylistics- Thank You Baby

We are celebrating Black History Month on the blog all month long.  Here is this record which I picked up at a record show for $3.00.

The Stylistics are a vocal group who embodied the Philadelphia Soul scene of the 70’s.  Lead by Russel Thompkins Jr on vocals, and backed up by James Dunn, James Smith, Airrion Love and Herb Murell, the group had a string if hits during this period, most under the production of Thom Bell.  Styles change and popularity fades but two incarnations of the group continue today, one of which led by Love and Murrell along with members of the Delfonics.

Link to the Stylistics

This record, released in 1975, was the groups’ sixth effort.  It would go to #9 on the RnB charts.  It produced a few singles, the title track being the most successful, reaching the #7 spot.   This record was the beginning of a transformative period for the group as Bell stepped down from production duties.  Success in the US was fading at this point, but the group continued to find success in the UK.

As far as this record goes, it is pretty good 70’s vocal-driven soul.  However, the record is in bad shape.  Most every song skips.  Therefore, I went with “Tears and Souvenirs” as it was the only non-skipping song on the record.

Well it is not the group’s fault that someone played this record to death so I am going to say this is a satisfactory record despite the scratches and skips.

The O’Jays- In Philadelphia

DSCN5270 (800x771)This was $5 at a record show, probably from last year.  I bought it at my first record show ,at which point I was trying to diversify the site.  I still would like to play more soul on the site but I have a huge backlog of records, especially from Half Price, where soul is a bit harder to find.the_O_jays4

The O’Jays were a vocal group from Canton ,Ohio.  Formed by Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey, and Bill Isles, the group had some modest success with singles and touring in the 1960’s.  Massey and Isles left, but the group continued as a trio.  Bolstered by the songwriting skills of Gamble and Huff, the group popularized Philadelphia Soul with hits such as “Backstabbers” and “Love Train”.

Success followed throughout the 70’s, but Powell would die in 1977 of cancer at age 35, but he was replaced by Sammy Strain.  Success and the 80;s followed but by 1990, their recorded output would slow down. They still perform today and are a popular draw, with Eric Grant, replacing Strain.

The O’Jays Web Page

This album,  originally recorded in 1970, is pretty interesting.  It was made right before the band signed with the label Philadelphia International which was the source of much of their success.  Yet, it features songs by Gamble and Huff and has the beginnings of the Philly sound.  Reading the copy on the back, it is clear that this is a reprinting from 1973.DSCN5271 (800x788)

Anyway, when this was recorded, the band had little idea how successful the Philly Sound would be.  There are a good number of pretty good songs including “One Night Affair”, “It’s Too Strong”, “Let Me In Your World”, and “Looky Looky”.  There is a good version of “Something” (with songwriting credits to G. Garrison) but it is ruined by the inclusion of “Little Green Apples” in a medley form.  Also, if I were to lodge a complaint, the songs seems to fade out too quickly. Other than this it is a decent album.OjaysBanner940x400

For a sample, I went with the western themed “Branded Bad”.600x399xthe_ojays_js_020614.jpg.pagespeed.ic.dNaYSlMtDo

Satisfactory record.  It is an interesting beginning not just for the band, but for Philly Soul as well.