The self-titled debut album of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes heralded the arrival of a new era in R&B. In 1971, the Philly soul sound as we know it today had yet to be defined, but this is one of the albums that set the standard. While the danceable, proto-disco element of the Blue Notes' (and thus Philly soul's) sound hadn't come into play yet, the silky orchestrations, walking-on-a-cloud harmonies, and heart-on-sleeve lead vocals (courtesy of Teddy Pendergrass) were present and accounted for. Since the mid-tempo dance grooves of the group's later hits hadn't taken hold, this is a ballad-based slow-burner pretty much all the way through, full of long tracks that take their time establishing a vibe. And one of those tracks, the glorious “If You Don't Know Me By Now,” would become an all-time soul classic.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Allen