Ready Or Not – Thom Bell – Philly Soul Arrangements & Productions 1965-1978 CD (Kent)
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Thom Bell, along with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, was part of the holy trinity of Philly soul. Reaching an apogee in the early to mid-seventies with records for the Stylistics (‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’), the Detroit Spinners (‘Could It Be I’m Falling In Love’), the O’Jays (‘Back Stabbers’) and New York City (‘I’m Doin’ Fine Now’), Bell was the classically trained arranger who introduced the celeste, the French horn and the harpsichord to soul music.
This is the first-ever compilation of Thom Bell’s productions and arrangements. Put together by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, “Ready Or Not” combines some of Bell’s biggest and best-loved hits with rarities (an original copy of Connie Stevens’ ‘Tick Tock’ would set you back more than £200) and lesser-known work such as Dionne Warwick’s seductive ‘Track Of The Cat’ and Johnny Mathis’ epic ‘Life Is A Song Worth Singing’. Star names including Laura Nyro and Lesley Gore line up alongside soul legends Dee Dee Sharp and the Delfonics.
This collection will appeal to northern soul collectors as well as pulling in fans of sixties girl singers and lovers of smooth seventies soul. Bob Stanley’s sleeve notes – with a rare exclusive interview with Bell himself – and a wealth of rare photos are icing on the cake.
Bell’s unique and instantly identifiable Philly sound has proved timeless. – Ace Records