As a grade schooler during the 1960's, growing up in the Benning section of Washington, D.C., my friends and I were heavily into the Motown sound. You know the artists-Temptations, Miracles, Supremes, Marvin Gaye, etc. There was a constant flow of hits from the Motown machine during this time. We were constantly buying 45's from these great artists, it seemed.
Then, around the time my family moved to southwest Arkansas in 1970, there was a new sound. And it was coming from Philadelphia. Known as "The Philly Sound" this was a different type of soul music than what was coming from Detroit or Memphis at the time. This music had a classical feel, a kind of orchestra sound. Lots of instruments. The Intruders, Delfonics, Spinners, and Stylistics were just a few of the very classy acts scoring hits with the Philly Sound.
The main force behind this new sound of soul music was Thom Bell. Born in Jamaica, his family relocated to Philadelphia where he learned the art of classical music. His dream was to become an orchestra conductor. However, in those days (early 60's) opportunities simply were not there for an African-American to become a conductor. So, Bell became a producer and writer for various record labels in Philadelphia. His first assignment was to produce songs for a group known as The Four Gents, who later became The Delfonics, From this union came the classic "La La Means I Love You" in 1969.
Bell began working with the Stylistics in 1970, and along with his writing partner Linda Creed, produced arguably the greatest sweet soul hits ever, including "Betcha By Golly, Wow". "Stop, Look, Listen(To Your Heart)", "You Are Everything" and "You Make Me Feel Brand New". The partnership of Bell and Creed would go on to produce major hits for the Spinners, O'Jays, Billy Paul, and Dionne Warwick.
Unfortunately, these great acts and songs seem to be from an era long past.
To me, it really is a shame. And I have had the chance to talk music with people from today's generation and a lot of youngsters, after hearing the sweet soul sounds of the 60's and 70's, some for the first time, really enjoy it was well!
I have to say I am not a rap fan at all. I'll take a Spinners concert over a rap concert any time. In my opinion, today's "urban" music just doesn't compare to the sweet soul sounds of the 1970's
I have to finish by giving you my Top 10 sweet soul songs. Let me know what you think! Write me at

1. Betcha By Golly, Wow-Stylistics(greatest slow dance song ever, IMO)
2.Stop, Look, Listen(To Your Heart)-Stylistics(my personal favorite)
3.I Wanna Know Your Name-The Intruders
4.It's Forever-The Ebonys
5.Love Don't Love Nobody-The Spinners
6.Sideshow-Blue Magic
7.You Are My Sunshine-O'Jays
8.If You Don't Know Me By Now-Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
9.Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation-The Dells
10. There's No Me Without You-The Manhattans