Saturday, 28 March 2015

Philly Sound Classics: The Philadelphia International All Stars - Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto

The Philadelphia International All Stars
”Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto”
( LP Philadelphia International Records, 1977 )
Catalog # PIR 82198

In the late 70's, In an effort to draw attention to rejuvenating the ghettos of Philadelphia, Kenneth Gamble put together an album of Philadelphia International's biggest acts on Let's Clean Up The Ghetto (1977). Artist' include, Lou Rawls, The O'Jays, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes amongst others. All tracks were recorded exclusively for the album and are unavailable elsewhere. (From Amazon)

Arranged By:
Bobby Martin (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B1)
Dexter Wansel (tracks: A2, B3)
Jack Faith (tracks: B5)
Lenny Pakula (tracks: B4)
Norman Harris (tracks: A5)
Ron Kersey (tracks: B2)

Bobby Martin (tracks: A1, A3)
Bunny Sigler (tracks: B3)
Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff (tracks: A2, A5, B1, B2, B4, B5)
Gene McFadden (tracks: A4)
Harold Melvin (tracks: B5)
John Whitehead (tracks: A4)
Victor Carstarphen (tracks: A4)
Written-By – B. Sigler (tracks: B3)
C. Gilbert (tracks: A2)
D. Wansel (tracks: B3)
F. Neil (tracks: B5)
Gamble & Huff (tracks: A2, A5, B1, B2)
G. McFadden (tracks: A4)
G. S. Heron (tracks: B4)
J. Whitehead (tracks: A4)
R. MacDonald (tracks: A1)
S. Vincent (tracks: A3)
V. Carstarphen (tracks: A4)
W. Salter (tracks: A1)

Recorded at Sigma Studios Philadelphia, Pa.
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1977

A1 O’Jays, The The Big Gangster (3:50)
A2 Billy Paul New Day, New World Comin’ (4:30)
A3 Archie Bell & The Drells Old People (3:45)
A4 Intruders, The Save The Children (4:12)
A5 Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes Everybody’s Talkin’ (3:51)
B1 Lou Rawls Trade Winds (3:48)
B2 Philadelphia International All Stars Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto (8:42)
B3 Dee Dee Sharp Gamble Ooh Child (3:32)
B4 Teddy Pendergrass Now Is The Time (3:42)
B5 Three Degrees, The Year Of Decision (2:34)

''Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto” (Vocal)

''You know, I was in
New York City a few months ago
And the garbage and the
Trash men were on strike
I'm talking about the
Maintenance people for the city

What they were trying to do was
They were trying to get
A little more money
You know, get a little raise in pay
But at that particular time
The city was broke
They were about ready
To declare default...''

Issued in July 1977 as Let’s Clean Up the Ghetto by the Philadelphia International All-Stars, this is one of Philly soul’s most socially aware efforts. The album’s title track was a coming together of artists signed to Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records: Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Archie Bell, Teddy Pendergrass, Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, and Eddie Levert and Walter Williams of the O’Jays. The compelling track with its “we’re on the move” bassline went to number four R&B, number 91 pop on Billboard’s charts in summer 1977. The profits were allotted to a charity program. Even though the rest of the LP consists of various unreleased tracks, the result is consistent. The brassy “The Big Gangster” by the O’Jays got airplay as an album track. Other highlights are the fervent “Now Is the Time to Do It” by Teddy Pendergrass; the buoyant, optimistic “New World Comin’” by Billy Paul’ and Archie Bell & the Drells’ celebration of seniors, “Old People,” produced by Bunny Sigler. The earnest cut is on Beach Music Anthology, Vol. 3 released by Ripete Records on April 11, 2000. ["Let's Clean Up the Ghetto" can be found on the 1996 Wotre set Mega Funk and Greatest Hits of Philadelphia: 1976-1986 issued by Empire on June 13, 2000.]
By Ed Hogan (AMG)

I was stoked to contribute to Waxpoetics’ Re:Discovery series recently. Besides being a fan of the series (which always exposes me to lost, overlooked albums), writing-wise, it allowed me to contextualize the music however I chose—which was freeing and really fun. If you haven’t heard Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto, and you like ’70s Philly soul, go check it out.
(Originally ran in Waxpoetics issue #33, The Philly Issue)
The planets were aligned for change in 1977. The Vietnam debacle had ended and President Carter begun issuing pardons for nearly ten thousand draft evaders. In the postwar glow, America’s War on Poverty surfaced with renewed boldness. Politicians were reinvigorated and, more importantly, listening.
A wail came from Philly by way of Let’s Clean Up the Ghetto, a Philadelphia International Records comp featuring elites of “The Sound of Philadelphia,” a style that had long dominated R&B charts. Kenneth Gamble (owner of Philadelphia International Records) combined his biggest acts—The Three Degrees, Billy Paul, the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Lou Rawls, and others—to raise concern about Philly’s growing ghettos. Gamble is quoted on the back as saying: “Anything physical has to first start as a thought…there’s a message in the music.”
Bobby Martin’s arrangement of “Ooh Child”, performed by Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, is pessimistic, dark, and nowhere as sunny as previous recorded versions. The Intruders’ resounding “Save the Children,” paired perfectly with Archie Bell and the Drells’ “Old People,” showed the generational effects of diminished opportunity. And Billy Paul’s buoyant  “New Day, New World Comin’” wove some hope into the record’s ten-songs.
Yet the title track is the project’s real centerpiece. Written by Gamble & Huff and Carey Gilbert, “Let’s Clean Up the Ghetto” is a posse cut of epic proportions. The Philadelphia International All-Stars consisted of Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Archie Bell, the O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, and Dee Dee Sharp Gamble. Rawls pleads for “cleanliness” and “safety” on the opening dialogue sequence, followed by each artist echoing the sentiment, each in their own distinct fashion. Aesthetically, hefty bass and washes of harmony usher the song along for eight-minutes. And while it’s hard to measure the effect of a single recording, it certainly voiced concerns of a voiceless minority, as all the profits from the record went towards local community development as promised.
Kenneth Gamble went on to redevelop South Philadelphia for decades, and Let’s Clean Up the Ghetto marked the start of his community-minded efforts. The project is a timely battle cry given that education, affordable housing, and job creation remain dominant hurdles in many communities of today. With Obama now at the helm, let’s hope populist issues will no longer be approached with elitist policies.

Sin título-2
PIR single ZS8 3627 & Promo AE7 1141
Sin título-1
Leon Huff & Kenny Gamble / Lou Rawls

(Demo Short Clips)
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