It seemed like a good idea in the meeting ...
98. Mandrake Memorial
Mandrake Memorial / Poppy, 1968
Despite their nonexistent national profile, Mandrake Memorial's trippy debut--dig that sitar and electric harpsichord--did very well for them along the East Coast, partly because they played live so incessantly. George Manney says: "They were the unofficial Trauma 'house' band. The Trauma was an underground venue on Arch Street (1967-'68) that hosted bands such as Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Tim Buckley, Moby Grape, plus many more." This eponymous album was ethereal and melodic, a quiet contrast to the tumultuous days when it was released.
99. Sweet Stavin Chain
Sweet Stavin Chain / Cotillion, 1970
The night Sweet Stavin Chain debuted at the original Electric Factory remains one of the most vivid memories of the era. They toddled horns and all onto the stage, a monstrously populous and ragtag bunch. When they started to play, they were a slam-dunk hit. The late Big John Bussell, a terrific white blues singer, was primary lead vocalist. He'd shine on numbers like "I'm Tore Down" and "Stormy Monday" while the band would boil behind him. But Sweet Stavin Chain's unquestioned show-stopping number was one of the most improbable yet brilliant of that or any era. Group leader and organizer the late Danny Starobin took center stage for a fully choreographed version of "Teddy Bear's Picnic," a touchstone of the collective audience's kidhood. Chain's one album contains all of these and more.
100. Tommy Conwell
Rumble / Columbia, 1988
It's true: He and the Young Rumblers were the king of all bar bands, and that would hurt any rocker's credibility. But Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers were truly beloved in the '80s, mostly because this University of Delaware grad had a strong sense of what worked for the live crowd. That charisma is partly what attracted the attention of Columbia Records for this major label debut, which featured the hit "I'm Not Your Man," about a regular Joe who realizes he'll never be the kind of guy who gets introduced to the parents. The band never went far nationally, but Conwell remains a strong supporter of the Philly music scene as the host of Loud and Local on WYSP.
These picks were written by: Jeffrey Barg, Patrick Berkery, Ain� Ardron-Doley, Julie Gerstein, Collin Keefe, Johnny Loftus, Ken Micallef, Ramsay Pennypacker, Liz Spikol, Michael Tearson, Suzann Vogel, Steve Volk and Tim Whitaker.
Man (and Woman) on the Street
We sent out an intrepid PW intern to learn what Philadelphians think are the city's best albums.
By Emily Brochin
Neighborhood: South Philadelphia.
Album: Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Wake up Everybody.
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