Philadelphia International Records Turns 41 With Shirley Jones and The Trammps (Or How I Rationalized Spending Three Hours In The Rain At The Ballpark)
If there was a bright side to sitting in the rain for three hours at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night while waiting for the evening’s Tampa Bay Rays – Philadelphia Phillies game to be officially rained out, it was the annual pregame ceremonies which honored the founding of Philadelphia International Records. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s legendary Broad Street record label that cranked out hits with Billy Paul, the O’Jays, and the Soul Survivors turns 41 this year, bringing nostalgia to a company which orchestrated an incredible 170-plus gold and platinum records.
To help celebrate the event, the Phillies brought out two acts from their slew of talent: Shirley Jones from the Jones Girls and four of the original members of disc/soul outfit The Trammps. Jones, who still has a powerful set of vocal chords, led off the soul twin bill with her group’s 1979 Top 40 hit “You Make Me Gonna Love Somebody Else.” The biggest highlight, however, were The Trammps, who dug back into 1976 with an extended cut of “Disco Inferno,” one of the label’s most successful hits.
For whatever reason, I’ve managed to unknowingly fall upon the Sound of Philadelphia Night at the ballpark for most of its nine years. Every year it is a real kick to see which icons (ranging from Billy Paul to Patti Labelle) perform and help mark one of the great legacies in American music.