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• Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes were one of the very first groups to achieve global success for Philadelphia International Records within its first year as a CBS-distributed label. The 1972 release of two consecutive ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ ballads – ‘I Miss You’ and ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ – marked the start of a four-year association that yielded some of the most enduring recordings in contemporary soul music, in the process creating – with label founders Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and a burgeoning coterie of talented songwriters, arrangers and musicians – a handful of timeless dance music classics including ‘The Love I Lost’, ‘Bad Luck’ and ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’.
• A Philadelphia-based group (The Charlemagnes) became ‘The Blue Notes’ after Harold Melvin joined them in the mid-‘50s and after a number of personnel changes, ‘Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ achieved their first US Top R&B hit in 1965 with ‘Get Out (And Cry)’. Mainstays of the popular lounge circuit, Melvin had hired Theodore Pendergrass as the new drummer for the group’s touring band in 1970 and by the time the quintet joined the fledgling roster at P.I.R., he had emerged as the lead singer; it was Pendergrass’ gospel-honed passion-filled vocals that were front-and-centre of the four gold-certified albums that formed the legacy of treasured recordings included in this glorious 36-track, 3-CD box set.
• Disc 1 comprises the 1972 LP, I MISS YOU (originally released as ‘Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ and retitled after the US Top 10 R&B success of their first P.I.R single) and includes the soulful opus ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’; and the 1973 set, BLACK & BLUE particularly memorable for the group’s anthemic ‘The Love I Lost’ and ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back)’.
• Disc 2 features two albums released in 1975: TO BE TRUE which kept the momentum going with ‘Where Are All My Friends’ and ‘Bad Luck’ while also introducing female vocalist Sharon Paige via the US R&B chart-topper, ‘Hope That We Can Be Together Soon’; and WAKE UP EVERYBODY, the title track of which – with its memorably timeless lyrical theme – became the group’s final million-seller with Pendergrass who went on to launch his solo career in 1977.
• Disc 3 consists of various bonus tracks: the group’s cover of Nilsson’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’ from The Philadelphia All-Stars’ 1977 LP, “Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto” LP; two dance mixes by legendary remix pioneer Tom Moulton, “Bad Luck” and an eleven-minute version of ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, originally a track from the group’s final P.I.R. LP – never issued as a U.S. single (but covered by Motown’s Thelma Houston for whom it became a global smash); and three ‘live’ recordings from the group’s performance at a CBS Records’ 1973 convention.
• With artwork by Roger Williams and mastering by Nick Robbins, the box set also includes informative notes by renowned US writer Kevin Goins (including 2019 quotes from group member Jeremiah Cummings) and personal reflections by reissue producer and SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan.
I MISS YOU / BLACK & BLUE
1. I MISS YOU
2. EBONY WOMAN
3. YESTERDAY I HAD THE BLUES
4. IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME BY NOW
5. BE FOR REAL
6. LET ME INTO YOUR WORLD
7. LET IT BE YOU
9. THE LOVE I LOST
10. IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOU
11. CONCENTRATE ON ME
12. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED (OR TAKE YOUR LOVE BACK)
13. IS THERE A PLACE FOR ME?
14. I’M WEAK FOR YOU
15. I’M COMING HOME TOMORROW
TO BE TRUE /
WAKE UP EVERYBODY
1. WHERE ARE ALL MY FRIENDS
2. TO BE TRUE
3. PRETTY FLOWER
4. HOPE THAT WE CAN BE TOGETHER SOON – Sharon Paige And Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes
5. NOBODY COULD TAKE YOUR PLACE
6. SOMEWHERE DOWN THE LINE
7. BAD LUCK
8. IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF A WOMAN
9. WAKE UP EVERYBODY
10. KEEP ON LOVIN’ YOU
11. YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE ME FEEL SO GOOD – Featuring Sharon Paige
12. DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY
13. TELL THE WORLD HOW I FEEL ABOUT ‘CHA BABY
14. TO BE FREE TO BE WHO WE ARE
15. I’M SEARCHING FOR A LOVE -Featuring Sharon Paige
VARIOUS BONUS TRACKS
1. EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’
2. BAD LUCK (TOM MOULTON MIX)
3. DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY (TOM MOULTON MIX)
4. THE LOVE I LOST (LIVE)
5. IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME BY NOW (LIVE)
6. I MISS YOU (LIVE)