phil-la of soul
phil-la of soul

Phil-LA of Soul started in January 1967 to focus on r&b releases and turn them into cross over pop hits. It had remarkable success at doing that from the start with records like “Boogaloo Down Broadway” by the Fantastic Johnny C, “The Horse” by Cliff Nobles and Co., and “I Likes To Do It” by the People’s Choice.

The first releases on Phil-LA of Soul were from Miami, where an emerging r&b scene had put out local records or been put out by Nashville country labels. Phil-LA of Soul represented an opportunity to be distributed from a large northern urban market  to similar markets where the label usually began its hits (though, ironically, “The Horse,” the instrumental B side of Cliff Noble’s A side vocal, “Love Is All Right,” was famously picked up by a Tampa overnight disc jockey who started it on its road to becoming the No. 2 record in the country).  Miami producers Willie Clarke, Johnny Pearsall and Frank Williams and artists Helene Smith, Clarence Reid and Joey Gilmore seeded early Phil-LA of Soul releases with the funk sensibility that would later blossom into a recognized source of its own sound in the 70s and beyond.

Phil-LA of Soul also drew heavily on local Philadelphia talent, relying on producers like Morris Bailey, Jr., (Jackie Levant and the Fashions, The Delights) Walter Rayfield and John Ellison (Alfreda Brockington, Soul Brothers Six), Richard Barrett (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes),  and Bill Perry (The People’s Choice).

The label also put out New Orleans artist Cynthia Sheeler, Houston-based Oscar Perry and California producer Calvin Wade’s Great Expectations.