Here we are again. Spinning right round the sun and coming back for another ‘album of the week’ from The Public Records. We’ll pick one from our R&B selection; after all, if it weren’t for R&B, there’d be no Rock’n’Roll – and our Summer Rock Block ‘019 would never have happened. We’ll also keep it local because that not too distant city of Philadelphia played a major roll in the history of the genre.
This week we got a super cool disc for you, MFSB: Love Is The Message (Philadelphia International Records (CBS), 1973). MFSB, or Mother Father Sister Brother, was no ordinary band. The group was formed in 1971 and had a ten year run, but here is the kicker – it was comprised of over 30 members and was the ‘house band’ for Sigma Sound Studio in Philadelphia. The group was formed by the influential producers Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thomas Bell. The group backed many major acts like Wilson Pickett, Teddy Pendergrass, The Three Degrees, The Delfonics, and Blue Magic and had their first hit with The O’Jays ‘Love Train’ in 1973. However, it was the next year that MFSB really hit their stride with the number one hit TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) aka the Soul Train Theme which hit number one on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts, sold a million copies that year earning it a gold record, and was a pivotal piece in the development of the disco sound.
Our featured album, MFSB: Love Is The Message, is the one that that has TSOP on it. The album hit number one U.S. Billboard Top Soul LP, and number four on the U.S. Billboard Top Jazz LP, and also number four on the U.S. Top LPs. It features over twenty musicians including Leon Huff and The Three Degrees on vocals. TSOP won the 1974 Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental Performance.
Be sure to enjoy this album with a Bluecoat gin neat and steak from Joe P’s to get that true Philadelphia feel.