The first Any Major Soul mix for 1975 — another excellent vintage — has that wonderful sunny feel of Philly soul, even if most of the songs aren’t from Philadelphia. But that is how pervasive the sound was in the mid-’70s.
Of course, a fair number of acts here are Philly Soul exponents, such as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, The Intruders, Bunny Sigler. The Spinners were on Atlantic but had many of their records, including the present song, produced by Philly soul pioneer Thom Bell.
Sounding much like the O’Jays on the featured track are South Shore Commission, a Chicago band who had a dance hit that year with Free Man.
Defying our expectations, the Chicago Gangsters were actually from Ohio, recording in Cleveland. The song here is a very fine ballad, the title track of their debut album. The album also featured Gangster Boogie, which LL Cool J sampled for Mama Says Knock You Out.
Ronnie McNeir’s track Nothing But A Heartache has the joyful sound of Philly, but it’s very much a Detroit song: Alabama-born McNeir who arranged the album himself, recorded it at Holland, Dozier, Holland Studios in Detroit. On drums is Carl Graves, who’ll turn up in his own right on Volume 2.
Jimmy Ruffin’s track also has that Philly vibe, but that is thanks to Van McCoy producing the album for Motown. McCoy was, of course, the man who brought us the most Philly non-Philly song ever: The Hustle.
Also from Detroit was Sugar Billy, whose joyous Super Duper Love was covered almost three decades later by Joss Stone. There seems to be little known about Sugar Billy Garner.
I have introduced Jim Gilstrap before, but feel duty-bound to repeat: he’s the guy who sings the first verse of Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. The track here is from his debut LP, Swing Your Daddy.
As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments.
1. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Keep On Lovin’ You
2. Sugar Billy – Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ On Me)
3. Maxine Nightingale – If I Ever Lose This Heaven
4. James Gilstrap – House Of Stranger
5. The Intruders – A Nice Girl Like You
6. Bunny Sigler – Things Are Gonna Get Better
7. Black Ivory – Will We Ever Come Together
8. South Shore Commission – Train Called Freedom
9. Billy Paul – My Head’s On Straight
10. The Spinners – Honest I Do
11. Ronnie McNeir – Nothing But A Heartache
12. David Ruffin – I’ve Got Nothing But Time
13. Natalie Cole – Needing You
14. Jackie Moore – Make Me Feel Like A Woman
15. Bobby Womack – (If You Want My Love) Put Something Down On It
16. Joe Simon – It’s Crying Time In Memphis
17. Sam Dees – The Show Must Go On
18. Chicago Gangsters – Blind Over You
19. Gwen McCrae – He Keeps Something Groovy Goin’ On
20. Lea Roberts – Loving You Gets Better With Time
21. Maxine Weldon – I Want Sunday Back Again
22. Allen Toussaint – When The Party’s Over