Love Is the Message: The Best of MFSB is an extensive, 16-track career summary for Philadelphia soul's greatest instrumental outfit. Despite all the strings and horns coloring its orchestrations, MFSB managed to remain fairly funky, and along with Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra, the band's early work helped create the instrumental blueprint for disco. Love Is the Message illustrates that MFSB crossed the line between smooth instrumental soul and disco quite often, even despite the fact that it's missing quite a few of the band's most popular disco cuts -- "Let's Go Disco," "Get Down With the Philly Sound," "Zip," "K-Jee," "Picnic in the Park," and "Summertime and I'm Feelin' Mellow" all earned substantial club/dance play, but are nowhere to be found here. Despite that bit of revisionist history, Love Is the Message does make for a fine overview of the band's more soulful outings. "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)," the title track, "Sexy," "My One and Only Love," and "T.L.C. (Tender Lovin' Care)" were all among the group's most popular cuts, and they're all present, as are covers of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," the O'Jays' "Back Stabbers," and Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom." Even if Love Is the Message isn't quite complete, though, it does accurately summarize how MFSB defined the sound of Philly soul, and it's really all that most fans will need.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey