100 Best Philly Albums of all Time

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9. Lee Morgan

The Sidewinder / Blue Note, 1964

Trumpeter Lee Morgan was a master soloist and crafty composer who bridged the gap between '60s hard bop and commercial trends like boogaloo and soul-jazz. Morgan's wonderfully brash solos are still like a warm slap on the face--his tone pure, his technique unassailable. But there are so many great Lee Morgan albums: Cornbread, Caramba, Sonic Boom, Candy, The Rumproller--how do you choose just one? The Sidewinder is perhaps Morgan's ultimate expression of funky, popping grooves and superior jazz structures played by an immaculate crew of Billy Higgins, Bob Cranshaw, Barry Harris and Joe Henderson. Shot dead by his common-law wife at 33, Lee Morgan remains one of jazz's most profound figures.

10. Hall and Oates

Abandoned Luncheonette / Atlantic, 1973

While Hall and Oates are probably best recalled for their white-guy smoothed-out R&B '80s hits ("I Can't Go for That" and "Private Eyes" come to mind), their early records evoke a more golden and pure sound, rife with Philly soul references and easy melodies. Recorded with the Rascals' Arif Mardin, H&O's 1973 classic Abandoned Luncheonette never scored very high on the charts (it topped at 33) but contains some of their finest offerings, including "She's Gone" and "When the Morning Comes." Blue-eyed soul never sounded so good.

11. The Roots

Phrenology / MCA, 2002

Things Fall Apart or Phrenology? Our experts were divided. Ultimately, Phrenology is simply more ambitious--and the risks pay off. Y-100's Dan Fein calls this his No. 1 Philly album ever. "I've listened to it hundreds of times, and I still get the need to put it back in the CD player. It transcends rock, jazz, hip-hop--you name it. It's well-crafted and spontaneously street-level at the same time. Black Thought is a verbal ambassador for Philly." Guest spots include Nelly Furtado, Jill Scott (see No. 28), Talib Kweli, Cody ChesnuTT and Musiq, and the breadth of those artists parallels the thematic range--musically and lyrically--of the album as a whole. A challenging, complex work, Phrenology is an easy pick for our top 25.

12. Stan Getz

Captain Marvel / Epic, 1972

Possessing one of the most beautiful tenor sounds ever, Stan Getz is best known for his role in popularizing bossa nova on Jazz Samba and Getz/Gilberto, a collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Jo´┐Żo Gilberto. But for sheer playing prowess, Getz was never more exciting than on Captain Marvel. Backed by the dream cast of Chick Corea, Tony Williams, Airto and

Stanley Clarke (see No. 69), Getz contains their fire but never suppresses it, channeling their youthful power to serve his melodic magic. Whether blowing beautifully over Corea's "La Fiesta" or navigating the brisk changes of "Five Hundred Miles High," Getz shapes the music like a sculptor who sees the end result in his mind's eye.

13. Teddy Pendergrass

TP / The Right Stuff, 1980

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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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