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JANICE'S BLUES ALLEY PRESENTS



MFSB -- Mother, Father, Sister, Brother



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MFSB photo



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Philly Soul ClassicsPhilly Soul Classics
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Best known for recording the hit theme to Soul Train, MFSB were the pre-eminent instrumental outfit of Philadelphia soul, backing numerous Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff productions while recording regularly on their own throughout the '70s. The group's name stood for Mother Father Sister Brother, and prior to their formation in 1971 as the house band at Gamble and Huff's Sigma Sound studios, some of the core personnel had been working together as early as 1968. Guitarists Norman Harris and Bobby Eli, bassist Ronnie Baker, and drummer Earl Young had an uncredited dance hit with "The Horse," the instrumental flip side of singer Cliff Nobles' "Love Is All Right." As the Horse dance craze swept Philadelphia, the group also backed singers the Fantastic Johnny C and (as the James Boys) Jesse James, while also issuing singles as the Music Makers and Family.



With the rise of the lush, orchestrated Philly soul sound at the dawn of the '70s, business was booming at Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International, and there was plenty of session work to be had. Harris, Eli, Baker, and Young formed an important part of the label's regular studio group; other prominent musicians included guitarists Roland Chambers and James Herb Smith, bassist Larry Moore, drummers/percussionists Karl Chambers, Miguel Fuentes, Quinton Joseph, and Larry Washington, saxophonist Zach Zachary, organist/keyboardist Lenny Pakula, and vibraphonist Vince Montana, plus a rotating cast of strings, horns, and other personnel that depended on availability and were often directed by Don Renaldo. MFSB provided backing on a bevy of Philadelphia International hits, most prominently for the O'Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, as well as other Philly soulsters like the Stylistics and the Spinners. They began cutting their own sessions in 1973, releasing a self-titled debut full of extended, sometimes jazzy soul grooves.



Later in 1973, TV host Don Cornelius approached Gamble about writing an original theme for his newly nationally syndicated dance show Soul Train. Gamble convened MFSB in the studio with arranger Bobby Martin and supporting vocal group the Three Degrees, and the theme song that grew out of the session proved hugely popular when it debuted on the show. Gamble pushed Cornelius to release it as a single, and when it finally appeared in early 1974 under the title "T.S.O.P." ("The Sound of Philadelphia"), it rocketed to the top of both the pop and R&B charts; it also won a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental. The accompanying MFSB album, Love Is the Message, was a gold-selling Top Ten hit (and a number one R&B album); moreover, the title track became an underground hit on the New York disco scene several years later. The group's next album, 1975's Universal Love, produced another R&B hit in "T.L.C. (Tender Lovin' Care)," and moved MFSB further into the emerging disco movement with tracks like "Sexy" and "Let's Go Disco."



MFSB recorded five more albums for Philadelphia International over the remainder of the '70s, becoming a full-fledged disco group when they began working heavily with arranger/producer Dexter Wansel in 1978. The previous year, they contributed a cover of the Nite-Liters' "K-Jee" to the mammoth-selling Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, but the late '70s brought mostly diminished commercial returns. The title track of MFSB's final album, 1980's Mysteries of the World, was a hit in the U.K., but with the heyday of both Philly soul and disco slipping away, the group disbanded in 1981

-- Steve Huey. All Music Guide


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LINKSYEARTITLE
1973MFSB
1974T. S. O. P.
1975Love Is The Message
1975Philadelphia Freedom
1975Universal Love
1976Summertime
1978MFSB & Gamble Huff Orchestra
1980Mysteries Of The World


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1973 MFSB

01. Freddie’s Dead
02. Family Affair
03. Something For Nothing
04. Back Stabbers
05. Layin’ Low
06. Poinciana


1974 T. S. O. P.

01. Zack’s Fanfare
02. Love Is The Message
03. Cheaper To Keep Her
04. T.S.O.P. (the sound of Philadelphia)
05. My One And Only Love
06. Touch Me In The Morning
07. Bitter Sweet



1975 Love Is The Message

01. Zack’s Fanfare
02. Love Is The Message
03. Cheaper To Keep Her
04. My One And Only Love
05. T.S.O.P. (the sound of Philadelphia)
06. Zack’s Fanfare (I hear music)
07. Touch Me In The Morning
08. Bitter Sweet


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1975 Philadelphia Freedom

01. Zack’s Fanfare #2
02. Get Down With The Philly Sound
03. Philadelphia Freedom
04. South Philly
05. Ferry Avenue
06. Interlude I
07. When Your Love Is Gone
08. Morning Tears
09. Brothers And Sisters
10. Smile Happy
11. The Zip



1975 Universal Love

01. Sexy
02. MFSB
03. Human Machine
04. Love Has No Time Or Place
05. T.L.C.
06. Let’s Go Disco
07. My Mood



1976 Summertime

01. Picnic In The Park
02. Summertime
03. Plenty Good Lovin’
04. Sunnin’ And Funnin’
05. Summertime And I’m Feeling Mellow
06. I’m On Your Side
07. Hot Summer Nights
08. We Got The Time


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1978 MFSB & Gamble Huff Orchestra

01. Dance With Me Tonight
02. To Be In Love
03. Let’s Party Down
04. Wishing On A Star
05. Use Ta Be My Guy
06. The Way I Feel Today
07. Is It Something I Said?
08. Redwood Beach


1980 Mysteries Of The World

01. Manhattan Skyline
02. Mysteries Of The World
03. Tell Me Why
04. Metamorphosis
05. Fortune Teller
06. Old San Juan
07. Thank You Miss Scott
08. In The Shadow


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