ANTICIPATED SHANACHIE ENTERTAINMENT CD CELEBRATES PHILADELPHIA'S
RICH R&B LEGACY & FEATURES SPECIAL GUESTS HALL & OATES,
THE AVERAGE WHITE BAND & BILAL
the Sixties belonged to Motown, the Seventies R&B scene was
dominated by the Sound of Philadelphia. The much loved and totally
identifiable Sound of Philadelphia combined propulsive grooves with
sophisticated and lush orchestral arrangements, classic songwriting,
smooth choreography, and airtight harmonies that were delivered
by superb vocalists. This music was epitomized by the perfection
of romantic soul ballads, which through the years were sung by many
of the finest tenor voices in the history of R&B. Drawing on
the fertile and unique Philadelphia vocal tradition sung by the
likes of The Dreamers, The Castelles, Lee Andrews & The Hearts,
Barbara Mason and the Intruders, and such celebrated groups as The
Stylistics, The Delfonics and Blue Magic, the storied Sound of Philadelphia
made an unforgettable string of classic recordings that were heard
and loved around the world.
On September 25, 2007, The Philadelphia Sound is reborn on a highly
anticipated and historic new recording featuring the lead vocalists
from three iconic groups of Philly's golden era: The Stylistics'
Russell Thompkins Jr., The Delfonics' William 'Poogie' Hart and
Blue Magic's Ted Mills. The Three Tenors- All the Way From Philadelphia
will mark the first time that these dynamic vocalists have ever
been captured on record with one another. Having influenced legions
of singers, these legendary tenors brought the world such timeless
R&B anthems as "Betcha' By Golly Wow," "La La
Means I Love You," "Sideshow," "People Make
The World Go Round" and so many other platinum selling classics.
The Three Tenors of Soul are joined on All The Way From Philadelphia
by an all-star line-up that includes fellow Philly stars Hall &
Oates and Bilal. This remarkable session also features the famed
Scottish funk and R&B group The Average White Band. This long-awaited
recording is produced by Bobby Eli of Philadelphia International
fame who penned the timeless hit "Sideshow" and who either
played on, wrote, arranged or produced scores of hits that helped
to define the Philadelphia Sound. All of the music featured on All
The Way From Philadelphia is close to the hearts of all those involved
with the session. Ted Mills shares, "The golden years of Philadelphia
music came from fabulously talented songwriters and musical arrangers
who moved the body and artists who stole hearts and touched souls
when they sang. Those who have loved our music for so many years
will find a crucial link between songs that were heartfelt long
ago, and a new surge of pulsating romance music that is hypnotic
and magnetic. We are ready to move a new generation of lovers!"
Tenors of Soul - All The Way From Philadelphia is the completion
of a dream for producer Bobby Eli. "For a long time I have
wanted to put together a sort of super group featuring three falsetto
voices that were well known during the 70s," says Eli. "The
top three groups that epitomize the sweet soul sound of Philadelphia
are the Delfonics, Stylistics and Blue Magic. Each of the guys -
William, Russell and Ted - have their own distinct sound. Although
all are natural tenors, they each bring to the plate their own identity.
The trick was getting songs that would work with all three and I
think I have nailed it!"
All The Way
From Philadelphia showcases a refreshing mix of newly energized
R&B classics as well as one Hall & Oates original, the title
track, which has never been recorded. The tracks on the CD feature
all three tenors either as a group or one as the lead while the
others harmonize background vocals. Russell Thompkins Jr.'s smooth
and refined tenor takes the lead on such stellar versions of Barry
Gibb's "Too Much Heaven," The Average White Band's "A
Love of Your Own" and Yvette Davis' "How Could I Let You
Get Away," a song that Russell Thompkins Jr. has long wanted
to record and that was originally recorded by the Spinners. Ted
Mills' sensual and soulful vocals are showcased on Maurice White's
classic "Fantasy," from Earth, Wind & Fire's triple
platinum selling All 'N All LP, as well as on "Grateful"
an original by producer Bobby Eli co-written with Vinnie Barrett.
All three tenors shine on such classics as Hall & Oates' #1
1981 hit "I Can't Go for That" which also features Hall
& Oates as does the title track. The three tenors also coalesce
on the Gamble & Huff gem "Where Are All My Friends"
which was a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and the Burt
Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager's "That's What Friends Are
For," originally sung by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of
Ron Howard's film Night Shift but which is far better known by Dionne
Warwick's cover with Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.
All The Way From Philadelphia is a sort of mutual admiration society,
as all of the musicians have listened to and enjoyed one another's
music over the years. Russell Thompkins. Jr. states, "When
I was coming up there were a number of tenors that influenced me
like Eddie Kendricks, Smokey Robinson and Ron Tyson. One of my earliest
influences however was William "Poogie" Hart. In fact
one of the first TV shows I did back in 1967 or '68 I sang one of
his songs, 'La La Means I Love You.' Working on this project has
been great. Ted brings an extremely nice high tenor to the music
and his ideas about harmony are really wonderful. William brings
experience and he is just William! I can sing all the parts from
baritone and second tenor and I try to do all of them on this project.
From the very first time I head about the idea of recording this
album and the opportunity of working alongside Bobby Eli, Ted Mills
and William 'Poogie Hart,' I knew that this CD would be something
great and that history would be made."
as the Philadelphia group with the 'sweet love songs,' The Stylistics
was formed in 1966 after the two groups, "The Percussions"
and "The Monarchs," merged under the guidance of their
English teacher, Beverly Hamilton. The original Stylistics featured
vocalists Russell Thompkins Jr., James Dunn, Herbert Murrell, Airrion
Love and James Smith. The legendary quintet recorded their first
song, "You're a Big Girl Now," at the local Philly recording
studio, Virtue Recording. It was first released locally and before
long it had became a number 1 hit in Philadelphia and soon elsewhere.
Beginning in 1971 with their hit single "You're a Big Girl
Now," The Stylistics continued to exist at the top of the charts
with 12 consecutive top- ten soul hits, including "You Make
Me Feel Brand New" and "Break Up To Make Up." The
group's self-titled debut was produced by Thom Bell and included
such hits as "Stop, Look, Listen to your Heart," "You
Are Everything" and "Betcha By Golly Wow." With a
vast catalog of hits, multiple gold and platinum albums, The Stylistics
earned a plaque on the Walk of Fame in Philadelphia in 1994. A decade
later, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
One of the quintessential soul groups of the late 60s and 70s and
one of the early groups to team up with producer Thom Bell, The
Delfonics ruled the charts with such R&B hits as "La La
Means I Love You," "Ready or Not" and the Grammy-winning
"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)". Formed in the early
1960s by brothers William "Poogie" and Wilbert Hart, along
with schoolmate Randy Cain (who was later replaced by Major Harris).
Many of the Delfonics' hits were written by William "Poogie"
Hart whose natural upper register is a trademark of the group.
Born in the nation's capital and raised in the City of Brotherly
Love, Hart was inspired early on by the recordings of Frankie Lyman
& The Teenagers and Little Anthony & The Imperials.
Blue Magic was originally formed in Philadelphia in 1973 and featured
Ted 'Wizard' Mills (who wrote such classics for Blue Magic as "What's
Come Over Me" and "Spell on My Mind"), Vernon Sawyer,
Wendell Sawyer, Keith 'Duke' Beaton and Richard Pratt. They signed
to Atlantic Records in 1973 and a year later enjoyed crossover success
with the Bobby Eli hit "Sideshow," which topped the soul
charts and made it to ten on the pop charts. Some of Blue Magic's
memorable hits that followed include "Stop to Start,"
"Chasing Rainbows," "What's Come Over Me" and
the dance tune "Magic of the Blue."
All The Way From Philadelphia come the three tenors and what a long
way they have traveled. Once the Three Tenors called to mind Placido
Domingo, Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti but now with the with
the release of All The Way From Philadelphia three more legendary
tenors are ready to take center stage and claim the throne. Russell
Thompkins Jr., Ted 'Wizard' Mills and William 'Poogie' Hart, will
forever change the way you hear tenors. From Philly to the world,
let soul live on!