100 Best Philly Albums of all Time

It seemed like a good idea in the meeting ...

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PW contributing writer Julie Gerstein is the East Coast editor of Anthem, a music, art and culture magazine.

Skip Heller is an L.A.-based jazz guitarist who maintains strong ties to his hometown. His latest album, Fakebook, pays tribute to the great Philly organ jazz tradition.

Harvey Holiday spent 15 years at WDAS-FM. He's now in his 16th year at WOGL (Mon.-Fri., 9am-3pm) and is the host of Street Corner Sunday (9am-midnight). He's a past winner of PW's Best Oldie Show Award and is an expert on '60s soul music, early rock 'n' roll, Bob Dylan and the 76ers.

Grammy-nominated producer David Ivory has worked with the Roots, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Common and Zap Mama. His Ivory Productions' featured artists include Patti LaBelle, Kindred and others.

Collin Keefe is a dedicated man of leisure who occasionally writes about the arts, pop culture and technology for a variety of publications, mostly to support his beer habit.

J. Edward Keyes has been writing about music for PW since '99. He contributes to several other publications, including Magnet, the Chicago Reader and Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Helen Leicht is assistant program director/midday host at 88.5 WXPN-FM, where she hosts the Leicht Lunch at Noon and showcases local artists weekdays at 1 p.m. as the Philly Local Pick of the Day. She's also on the board of directors for the Philadelphia Songwriters Project.

Craig D. Lindsey writes mostly about black music for PW. He lives in Raleigh, N.C., and is the film critic/reporter for The News & Observer.

Johnny Loftus writes about rock music for All Music Guide and Pitchfork Media. He's a regular contributor to various websites and alt-weeklies, including Glorious Noise and PW.

Y-100 program director Jim McGuinn often answers emails from people complaining that Y-100 doesn't play enough _____. He plays bass in Cordalene, lap steel in Wayward Wind and Strat-o-Matic baseball on his computer.

George Manney of Geo Sound (www.geosound.org) is a producer, musician, composer, filmmaker and music archivist.

Ramon Martinez, aka djelrock, was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Since moving to Philly in '83, he's been spreading the word about rock en espa�ol--and has been promoting shows since 1990.

Ken Micallef is a part-time butcher and jewel merchant in midtown Manhattan. "Barbie Man," as he's known, contributes to Downbeat, Jazziz, Mojo and the Holy Roller Roundup.

Ben Morgan is head of booking and production for the Millcreek Tavern in West Philadelphia. He plays bass in the Sand Family's production of Broken Hipsters.

Once known as Frank Blank, guitarist and author Frank Moriarty has contributed music writing to many national and area publications over the last two decades. Brian May of Queen wrote the foreword for his latest book, Seventies Rock: The Decade of Creative Chaos (Taylor Trade).

Artist and musician Amy Morrissey is a producer, engineer and studio manager at Miner Street/Cycle Sound Recordings.

Ramsay Pennypacker is a longtime area music critic who writes for, among other publications, Philadelphia magazine, Bucks magazine and PW.

Bob Perkins is a former broadcast and print media newsman and editorial writer. For the last seven years he's hosted a successful jazz program on Temple University's WRTI-FM.

Dave Pianka is the promoter of the legendary Making Time and Click parties. He does marketing, branding and promotions work for a number of clothing and music companies.

Mark Reynolds reviews hip-hop and R&B for Hear/Say, a monthly magazine found on major college campuses, and also dissects everything from neo-soul to country blues for the Cleve-land Free Times, Urbandialect. net and other publications.

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Comments 1 - 18 of 18
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1. Serease Brown said... on Nov 13, 2008 at 09:34AM

“Buuter, Who sings the song Step Into My World , I heard it on your show female group? Thanks Serase”

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2. Drew said... on Jul 23, 2009 at 12:01AM

“"Backstabbers" was hardly early in the O'Jays' career. The group has been recording and touring since 1960.They were a quintet until 1965/66, then a quartet until they resigned with Gamble-Huff and became a trio. Prior to being a trio and hitting with "Backstabbers" they had recorded for at least six different labels with most of their songs scoring in the high echelons of R&B charts in the cities they were played.”

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3. greg said... on Jul 24, 2009 at 04:36PM

“I was in Sweet Stavin Chain and Good God...I was also in a band called Breakwater in the late '70's and early '80's that had 2 successful albums on Arista and a national following. It was one of the best funk bands ever to come out of Philadelphia and one of the few truly self-contained bands on the soul side of town to make a mark. It still gets played on WDAS...the songs were good enough. I'm a little surprised that it didn't get a mention here.
By the way, were getting together again after almost thirty years and it's a real pleasure. The band sounds possibly better than it did back then... nice to know it's still there after all these years, makes you think you were on to something the first time. Keep your eyes peeled, we'll be playing out before the year is out.


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4. Frank C. said... on Jul 26, 2009 at 08:29PM

“Hats off for citing Essra Mohawk's PRIMORDIAL LOVERS but it should be in Top 10, for sure!
The album still blows me away and to think Essra was only 21 when she created it... Not only is it, for my money, the best of the earliest singer-songwriter works, but Rhino Records even went one step further by essentially calling it the mother album of "grrrl power."
Essra, rock on!!!”

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5. Richard Romanowski said... on Dec 25, 2009 at 06:24AM

“Essra, for me, has become a suitable, iconic legend. One listen ro ant of her songs could alone exolain my rationale behind thid thinking. Her songs are truly an inspiration, they are a force to be dealt with. I feel her melodies bery deeply, surging within the innermost parts of my very soul. Thank you. Rich Romanowski of Romanowski Studios (look for my songs on YouTube.”

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6. Joann Cape May NJ said... on May 14, 2010 at 12:42AM

“My husband John Bussell is still alive, still singing and playing for his family and friends.”

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7. john travis said... on May 27, 2010 at 10:19AM

“What about the album Dobbs Lives. only 1000 copies were made, 1980 copy right, Living Room Artists Productions.”

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8. Fluke said... on Mar 24, 2011 at 11:53PM

“Tommy Conwell, are you joking? After he stopped booze and drugs, and became the real him, one of the biggest jerkoffs to ram the earth.”

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9. Ed said... on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:15AM

“The "John Bussell" I'm curious about would be hard to miss ... maybe 6'10" tall!!! Graduated Olney High School Class of '67. He played drums, played with us on graduation night, played drums in Sweet Stavin Chain ... still with us??? Inquiring minds (and old friends) want to know. May be a 45th HS Reunion coming up in May '2012. Please advise”

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10. Dave said... on Feb 10, 2012 at 01:54PM

“The Kit Kats at #81-
the correct song title is "Won't Find Better Than Me", just sayin'”

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11. Michael said... on Feb 28, 2012 at 07:28PM

“What. No mention of American Dream, Good News, Crystal Mansion, Woody Truck Stop, High Treason. Are you sure you were in Philly those years?”

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12. The Warped Vinyl Junkie said... on Mar 28, 2013 at 08:10PM

“You include Bessie Smith on your list since she died near Philadelphia? What an ignorant way to make up a "top 100" list. My vote is you are -200.”

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13. Joann Bussell said... on Nov 7, 2013 at 02:56PM

“Just want to add I am the wife of John Bussell .We married in 1970 and still together today. John Bussell of Sweet Stavin Chain is Alive and well. At 65 he still playing his guitars and singing to his grandkids lol. So late he is not. Lol Still living and loving life.”

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14. Larry said... on May 9, 2014 at 04:58PM

“How come you did not have the singing group the futures on the list?”

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15. Anonymous said... on Sep 16, 2014 at 04:29PM

“U forgot First Choice!”

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16. Anonymous said... on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:41PM

“Two corrections. David Bowie's "David Live" was released on RCA, not Capitol (Bowie's never been on Capitol); and Clarence Clemons recorded "Woman's Got The Power," not "After Last Night."”

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17. Ed Feldamn said... on Dec 5, 2014 at 10:57AM

“The Philadelphia Orchestra, you incredibly ignorant bastards.”

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18. Tom Rothermel said... on Apr 29, 2015 at 10:36PM

“How did you miss American Dream? Incredible band, amazing album. My high school rock band covered several of their songs.

Great to see Edison Electric Band and Good God on the list. Two of my other Philly favorites from the day.”


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