Sunday, 25 April 2010

“Wake Up Everybody…Plus” by HAROLD MELVIN and THE BLUE NOTES. A Review of the 1975 Philadelphia International LP now reissued by Edsel on a 2010 CD.

"…The Way You Walk And The Way You Smile…"

“Wake Up Everybody…Plus” is part of a mid-price series of Philadelphia International LP reissues by Demon’s EDSEL label in the UK (see PS below). Most of the albums seem to be focusing on the year 1975.

Released April 2010, Edsel EDSM0002 breaks down as follows (50:21 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 7 are the album “Wake Up Everybody” released November 1975 on Philadelphia International Records PZ 33808 in the USA and early 1976 on Philadelphia International Records S PIR 69193 in the UK. It was their 4th and final studio LP for the famous soul label – and easily their most successful and fondly remembered - reaching the coveted Number 1 spot on the US R’n’B charts that Christmas.

Track 8 is “Don’t Leave Me This Way (The Tom Moulton Mix)”, an 11:02 minutes extended version remixed in 1977

The 20-page booklet provides you with band snaps, lyrics, pictures of the LP label and 7” singles taken off it - as well as superb liner notes by noted soul expert TONY ROUNCE. The CD has been mastered by TALL ORDER of the UK and the sound quality is fantastic – clear and hiss free – and it really allows the lush Gamble/Huff MFSB production values to shine.

Philly’s ace song-writing team – John Whitehead, Gene McFadden and Victor Carstarphen provided tracks 1, 2, 5 and 6 - while label founders Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff stumped up production and writing credits for tracks 3, 4 and 7.

The lovely SHARON PAIGE provided duet vocals on “You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good” and “I’m Searching For Love”, but it was (Theodore) TEDDY PENDERGRASS who shone with lead vocals on all tracks – especially the huge title track “Wake Up Everybody” (which effectively launched Pendergrass as a solo star).

But for me one of the unheard gems on this album is Track 2 on Side 1, “Keep On Lovin’ You” – as brill a Seventies soul tune as you can get (lyrics above). It’s so good to hear it with such top sound quality.

Niggles – both “Tell The World How I Feel About ‘Cha Baby” and “Wake Up Everybody” have 7” single edits which AREN’T included as bonus tracks and I would have preferred those than the rather tiresome extension of the overly familiar “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.

Other than that – this is a superb Philly album – and pitched at a marketplace price that’s less than a fiver – it’s an absolute steal.


PS: other titles in the series are/will be…
1. Dance Your Troubles Away – ARCHIE BELL and THE DRELLS (1975) [due Summer 2010, Edsel EDSM0006]
2. Philadelphia Freedom – M.F.S.B. (1975) [due Summer 2010, Edsel EDSM 0005]
3. When Love Is New – BILLY PAUL (1975) [April 2010, Edsel EDSM0003]
4. Family Reunion…Plus – THE O’JAYS (1975) [April 2010, Edsel EDSM0001]
5. The Three Degrees Live [aka Live In London] (1975) – THE THREE DEGREES (due Summer 2010, Edsel EDSM0004)

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