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The DJ Playlist: Philadelphia Soul
Philadelphia (Philly) soul, sometimes referred to as the ‘Philadelphia Sound’, is a style of soul music characterised by silky smooth instrumental arrangements, often complemented by sweeping strings and horns. The overall sound is smoother when compared to earlier soul styles like Motown.

ue to this emphasis on sound and arrangement, Philly soul is often referred to as a ‘producer’s genre’. Songwriters like Thom Bell, Linda Greed and teams including Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (the latter being the backbone of the legendary Philadelphia International Records) used a stable of studio musicians to develop the Philly sound and hired them as backing for many of the acts who rose to fame as part of the scene. Many of these musicians would record as the instrumental group MFSB, who had a huge hit with the 1974 track ‘TSOP – The Sound Of Philadelphia’.
Whilst there is no denying that Philly soul was primarily a producer’s medium, as the aforementioned songwriters also created the instrumental parts that would distinguish the genre, the singers also played their part. Acts including The Spinners, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and The Stylistics all featured sublime vocalists, each with their own unique voices that added the finish to the musical creations of their producers.

This style of music remains popular with DJs and audiences and having a selection of classic tracks and innovative remixes from the genre will serve you well. Perfect for background, scene-setting and main set options, it crosses over from downtempo soul into disco, allowing you to build the energy and create elegant sets for your guests.

Mastermix has created a couple of digital albums each including 50 individual tracks. Essential Hits: 70s Soul features the original radio edits of tracks including ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ and ‘Can’t Give You Anything But Love’ whilst Essential Hits: 70s Soul Reimagined includes original extended versions, innovative remixes and some instrumental gems, all of which can be used to create some silky smooth sets for your audiences. Both albums include a selection of Philly soul anthems plus other 70 soul classics to complete a fantastic collection.

I’ve selected some of my favourite tracks from each digital album. I often use these tracks to create stylish playlists for my clients and offer a music style that appeals to all ages.

1// ‘Armed & Extremely Dangerous' – The Intruders
2// '(Win, Place Or Show) She’s A Winner (Tom Moulton Remix)' – The Intruders
3// ‘Show You The Way To Go’ – The Jacksons
4// ‘Are You Ready For Love (Original Full Version – Thom Bell Sessions)’ – Elton John & The Spinners
5// ‘T.S.O.P. (The Sound Of Philadelphia) (Tracy Young Remix)’ – MFSB
6// ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way (Tom Moulton Remix)’ – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
7// ‘The Love I Lost (Dimitri From Paris Remix)’ – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
8// ‘I’m Doing Fine Now’ – New York City
9// ‘Backstabbers (Tom Moulton Remix)’ – The O’Jays
10// ‘Love Train (Tom Moulton Mix)’ – The O’Jays
11// 'Only The Strong Survive (J*Ski Re-Edit)’ – Billy Paul
12// ‘You Can’t Hide From Yourself (Dimitri From Paris Remix)’ – Teddy Pendergrass
13// ‘Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto (Danny Krivit Remix)’ – Philadelphia Allstars
14// ‘You’ll Never Find A Love Like Mine (Frankie Knuckles Remix)’ – Lou Rawls
15// ‘I’m Stone In Love With You’ – The Stylistics
16// ‘When Will I See You Again (Tom Moulton Mix)’ – Three Degrees
17// ‘Rubber Band (Tom Molton Mix)’ – The Trammps
18// ‘You’re The First, My Last, My Everything (Extended Version)’ – Barry White
19// ‘Then Came You’ – Dionne Warwick & The Spinners
20// 'Love Is You (Tom Moulton Remix)’ - Carol Williams
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 124, Pages 70-71.
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