V/A ‘Philly Regrooved 3 – Tom Moulton Remixes: More from the Master’ 2CD (Harmless) 5/5

Now into a third and this time extended instalment, for those not already familiar with the concept, the Tom Moulton remixes focuses on one of the pivotal figures of the origins of dance music from the classic disco era of the 1970s. Tom Moulton was arguably the creator of, or at the very least the person who first thought up the notion of an elongated dance number which morphed into the 12″ single with additional instrumental segments and extended introductions and was able to effortlessly segue this together. For this latest project, Moulton has revisited some of the underground as well as more recognised dance classics of the 1970s and given them new mixes in his own distinctive and ultimately timeless voice. Several of the originals are extremely hard to find, but even for those having them already in their possession, it will still be like listening to the numbers for the first time with the reworkings on offer here. There are too many highlights to mention them all, but suffice it to say that Tom Moulton has always had a soft spot for the soulful Philly groove and there are once more numerous examples of this sound on the current compilation as on the previous two.

One surprise which has a good deal of relevance to the present day is ‘Soul recession’ by Double Exposure. With its socially conscious lyrics, one should not forget that disco flourished during a period of major recession that hit the northern US cities particularly badly during the mid-late 1970s and therefore the music was in many respects a positive response to a very negative economic climate that reigned at the time. The beefed up percussion makes this ideal fodder for the dancefloor and of course the harmonies by Double Exposure are utterly sublime.

Another Philadelphia based group with the sweetest of collective voices were Blue Magic and ‘Look me up’ is a heavy soulful tune with falsetto lead vocals that typifies the classy production that Sigma studios were capable of. Cult band the Ebonys have one of the hardest to find original albums on Philadelphia International (thankfully re-issued on CD and vinyl formats in recent years) and the inclusion of the excellent ‘Making love ain’t no fun (without the one you love)’ is a most welcome one and features some delightful hi-hat cymbals and lush strings sound that was an integral part of the classic Philly dancefloor groove. More familiar to the ears is William deVaughan’s ‘Be thankful for what you’ve got’ which here receives an extended vibes instrumental section halfway through and results in over nine minutes worth of dancefloor delight. The Spinners ‘Could it be I’m falling in love’ does not divert too much from the original whereas Melba Moore’s ‘Standing right here’ has a far more pared down feel with a guitar and percussive intro, and some lovely flute work. Underlying it all is the subtlety with which Tom Moulton has perfected his remixes over the years and these sound as good today as they did back in the mid-1970s. This is what Tom Moulton is truly the master of, keeping the music flowing endlessly.

Tim Stenhouse