Soul City Philadelphia: Philly Gems From The Dawn Of Soul Music

Various Artists
FORMAT: Audio CD - 2 Disc
Release date: 14 Jul 2014

“Philadelphia may be synonymous with the string-laden creamy soul of Gamble & Huff and the PIR label, but it was also responsible for some of the hardest dancefloor R&B ever recorded...****” Record Collector

"The digging is sure footed...a tightly balanced, thoughtfully assembled collection...wonderfully informative. Encompassing the smooth with the rough, love against hate, drama and tedium, but the motive is clear: its authentic and groundbreaking. Ignore at your peril."

CAT No: FVDD198 UPC TEXT: 5055311001982

Full details

Soul City Philadelphia presents records which served to establish the musical direction of the city in the late 1950s and early 1960s, at the dawn of the soul era. Compiled and annotated by soul music authority Clive Richardson, Soul City Philadelphia is the latest in a series that has previously explored the nascent soul scenes in Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

America’s fourth-largest city proved to be a focal point for money, growing to be a major banking centre on the East Coast, and money also brought music – as cited by Tony Cummings, author of The Sound of Philadelphia, the “Philly sound was made possible due to a web of coincidences which brought the right people to the right place at the right time.”

The Philly Sound means different things to different people, depending on their age or musical era of choice.  In the early 1960s the sound was likely to be the blasting sax solos and crisp snare-beat which typified the chart hits on Bernie Lowe’s Cameo and Parkway labels, generated by the key A&R duo of Kal Mann and Dave Appell. It is this style that forms the focus of this anthology, with Lowe’s labels being matched for independent success by the likes of V-Tone (run by Venton ‘Buddy’ Caldwell from 2034 Ridge Ave), Chancellor (run by Peter DeAngelis and Bob Marcucci from the Chancellor Room of the Hyatt Hotel), and Heritage (run by Jerry Ross). Also featuring are artists who originated in Philadelphia but who achieved success on labels outside the city, such as the Sensations, Solomon Burke and the Majors.

Other famous artists included on this 60-track 2CD selection include Don Covay, Bobby Parker, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Orlons, Donnie Elbert, Lee Andrews and Chubby Checker, but as always in this series, there are fascinating recordings by lesser-known acts.

Here we have music from the formative period of the soul era in Philadelphia.

Also available as 2LP vinyl collector’s edition, featuring 28 of the most sought-after tracks and colour insert.



  1. Watch Your Step (Bobby Parker)
  2. Steal Your Heart Away (Bobby Parker)
  3. There’s Something On Your Mind (Part 1) (The Jolly Jax)
  4. There’s Something On Your Mind (Part 2) (The Jolly Jax)
  5. Cryin’ Over You (The Cruisers)
  6. Don’t Tease Me (The Cruisers)
  7. If I Had Our Love To Live Over (Al Downing)
  8. Words Of Love (Al Downing)
  9. Ashes (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
  10. Nitty Gritty (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
  11. Cry Baby Cry (The Sensations feat. Yvonne Mills)
  12. That’s My Desire (Yvonne Baker and The Sensations)
  13. Party Across The Hall (Yvonne Baker and The Sensations)
  14. This Is A Perfect Moment (The Gainors)
  15. Where I Want To Be (The Gainors)
  16. Tell Him (The Gainors)
  17. Darlin’ (The Gainors)
  18. The Popeye Waddle (Don Covay)
  19. One Little Boy Had Money (Don Covay)
  20. Holiday Hill (The Orlons)
  21. Tonight (The Orlons)
  22. Don’t Hang Up (The Orlons)
  23. The Conservative (The Orlons)
  24. A Whole Lot Of Lovin’ (Ben Higgins)
  25. Really Paradise (Ben Higgins)
  26. She Is Mine (The Blue Notes)
  27. The Letter (The Blue Notes)
  28. My Hero (The Blue Notes)
  29. A Good Woman (The Blue Notes)
  30. Blue Star (The Blue Notes)


  1. A Wonderful Dream (The Majors)
  2. Time Will Tell (The Majors)
  3. She’s A Troublemaker (The Majors)
  4. A Little Bit Now (A Little Bit Later) (The Majors)
  5. When We Get Married (The Dreamlovers)
  6. Just Because (The Dreamlovers)
  7. Welcome Home (The Dreamlovers)
  8. Let Them Love (And Be Loved) (The Dreamlovers)
  9. I Miss You (The Dreamlovers)
  10. It’s All Right (Solomon Burke)
  11. Be Bop Grandma (Solomon Burke)
  12. One Day (The Bobby Peterson Quintet)
  13. Mama Get Your Hammer (The Bobby Peterson Quintet)
  14. Will You Ever Be Mine (Donnie Elbert)
  15. Half As Old (Donnie Elbert)
  16. Baby Let Me Love You Tonite (Donnie Elbert)
  17. Maybe You’ll Be There (Lee Andrews and The Hearts)
  18. All I Ask Is Love (Lee Andrews and The Hearts)
  19. I Wonder (Lee Andrews)
  20. Toot (Chubby Checker)
  21. Dance The Mess Around (Chubby Checker)
  22. The Fly (Chubby Checker)
  23. Eyes (Yvonne Baker and The Sensations)
  24. No Changes (Yvonne Baker and The Sensations)
  25. I Won’t Cry (Bunny Sigler)
  26. Come On Home (Bunny Sigler)
  27. It’s Unbelievable (The Larks)
  28. I Can’t Believe It (The Larks)
  29. Mope-itty Mope (The Boss-Tones)
  30. Wings Of An Angel (The Boss-Tones)