If 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.
Although first released in 2007, this is the first we've heard of this recording. The Philadelphia Sound is reborn on this historic 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!"
3 Tenors Of SoulThree 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."
3 Tenors Of SoulHeralded 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!