Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff. TSOP - The Sounds of Philly.

My love and interest in MUSIC all started in the mid to late 60’s and early 70’s with a gift of a pocket a.m. stations only transistor radio complete with just one ear plug that I received from my grandmother who loved to be called NANA when I was about 6 or 7 years old.

GOD bless and rest her soul she was such a loving and giving person, she was also a very spiritual person and would always speak kind words of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT that would give me the CONFIDENCE for the future, I miss her dearly and appreciate everything she has ever done for me and my family.

She was truly an inspiration to me growing up and with her unconditional love I am proud of the man and person I've become today and I am sure that she would be proud of me as well. I miss her very much and think about her everyday. I LOVE YOU NANA.

Growing up in Brooklyn New York there were only 3 major radio stations on the a.m. dial that came in clearly enough on my pocket radio to actually listen to MUSIC.

77 WABC am radio in New York which played top 40 popular songs with legendary disc jockeys Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Cousin Brucie, George Michael and Chuck Leonard.

WNBC am radio in New York which also played a top 40 format with legendary disc jockeys Murray the “K” and one of my favorite disc jockeys Wolfman Jack.

And WNEW am 1130 in New York with legendary disc jockey William B.Williams which played mostly Jazz anywhere from Instrumental Big Band Jazz to Jazz vocalist with the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and male crooners such as Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis jr,Tony Bennett, Jack Jones, Andy Williams and of course FRANK SINATRA.

I would listen to these 3 radio stations religiously picking apart and studying songs I would hear from lyrical content, lead vocal range, background harmonies, guitar licks and drum beats. I couldn’t wait to come home from school to be with my radio.

I was a very shy kid and became a recluse, I would spend hours in my room listening to MUSIC dissecting songs and I loved every minute of it.

I still do the samething even today but on a much higher level and thanks to modern technology I get a chance to create MUSIC and collaborate with other musicians, producers, recording engineers, singers & songwriters that have also become my friends.

I love all types of MUSIC and as an experienced musician I have played drums in Rock bands to Jazz bands, however I have always been drawn to MUSIC about love and romantic instrumental content with alot of soulful sounds and Classic R&B has always been at the forefront.

One day while listening to my radio I heard a song called "Only the Strong Survive" sung by Jerry Butler which was released in 1968 he is the original lead singer of the famed R&B vocal group The Impressions.

That song had such a major impact on me due to the fact that my mother and father were going through a bitter divorce when I first heard that song on my radio. It gave me the strength and encouragement to cope with such a major emotional and financial blow to my upbringing.

Let me STOP here for a moment and give my personal opinion on that issue.

To many children today are growing up without fathers and being raised by single moms in this country and understandability each sitution is different but ultimately it's up to that individual parent if they really want to be part of their child's life.

If you are not ready to step up and become a parent or a father whether it's because your "career driven like myself " or from a lack of finances, maybe you just want to play the field (Player.) or just plain immature and can't accept the responsibilities to help raise and support a child in this world then take extra precaution "AND DON'T HAVE ANY."

Understandably if a husband and wife or a man and a woman find it hard to get along then it's best for them and the child's sake to go their own separate ways.

However any parent or father to just forget about their child or children is a disgrace to their humanity and unfair to the many of children that have to suffer just because they were born. (Enough Said.)

Anyway a few days later I went to a record store in my neighborhood and with no money searched for the song "Only The Strong Survive" by Jerry Butler and I found it on a 45 rpm. WOW!!! Remember 45's? ANCIENT HISTORY. (LOL)

I read the back of the record cover also better known as the jacket cover for the credit‘s on who wrote and produced it and it was Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff from Philadelphia International Records better know as "The Sounds of Philly" I then stuck the record in my pants and walked out of the store and went straight to my room. (LOL)

Now safe at home I had no record player so I couldn’t even play the song and I was pissed as hell. So I went back to listening to my radio I then heard a song called "Cowboys to Girls" from The Intruders. The melody, lyrics and instrumentals on that record really touched my soul.

For those of you who don't know The Intruders also sung the1973 smash hit everybodys favorite Mothers Day song "I'll Always Love My Mama." A few days later I went back to the record store (LOL) and NO I didn't stuff the record in my pants this time.

I just read the credit’s on the back of the recod jacket again to on who wrote and produced it, and again it was Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff from "The Sounds of Philly" however this time I did take a pair of drum sticks that was on the counter and hurried back to my room were I felt safe and with my new drum sticks I would bang on the furniture and walls in unison with the drummer's beat to songs I heard on my radio.

Some other great songs that they have also written include "If You Don't Know Me By Now" for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass, Back Stabbers, For the Love of Money and Love Train for the O'Jays. And one of my favorite songs of all time "Me and Mrs. Jones" sung by one of my many favorite singers on the Philly Label Billy Paul.

A few weeks later my NANA came to visit us with several bags of groceries which she would often do to help my mom a single mother raising 4 children by herself on welfare. I love my NANA and RESPECT her for that. I begged her to buy me a record player I told her that there was a record store a few blocks away from the house and she said come on lets go.

We went into the record store and I saw a record player for 9 dollars and 99 cents she gave the man the money and they were both laughing and speaking in Italian my NANA loved to speak in italian she was very friendly with everybody she then went back into her purse and gave the store owner more money.

I was so happy to get a brand new record player I can still remember very clearly to this day walking down the street with my NANA holding her hand and holding my new record player in the other. As we left the store and got a little closer to the house my NANA turned to me and said now promise me Anthony that you will never steal anything again.

I promised her, she then kissed me and said now give me a BIG HUG. I 've kept my promise to her ever since.

The video you are about to watch is a dedication of my appreciation of two very gifted songwriters and MUSIC producers that made American Music History with their extraordinary talents.

Most people have no idea how difficult it truly is to create MUSIC to words or to put words to MUSIC.

Thank you Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff for touching my life and thank you GOD for creating such gifted men and bringing them both together giving the "WORLD SUCH GREAT MUSIC!!!!

Gamble & Huff Music History.
Click on link: http://youtu.be/yby--86L6qk

♫ Anthony Figgiani ♫.