Various Artists

Philadelphia International Records: The Collection

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Released by Legacy in the U.K., this compact box set contains 20 albums -- inside adequate LP replica sleeves -- released by Philadelphia International. When it was issued, it retailed at a price that was roughly equivalent to the sum of three or four full-price titles, which made it a significant bargain. These albums don't represent the absolute best that PIR had to offer; instead, the box offers an assortment of commercial hits and misses, creative masterpieces and not-quite-failures, and showcases a significant portion of the label's roster. There are some obvious picks, like 360 Degrees of Billy Paul, and there is a handful of surprises, like Edwin Birdsong's self-titled album. Others included: Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Back Stabbers, Save the Children, The Three Degrees, Ship Ahoy, Love Is the Message, Keep Smilin', Wake Up Everybody, All Things in Time, Life on Mars, The Jacksons, Teddy Pendergrass, Jean Carn, The Jones Girls, McFadden & Whitehead, When You Hear Lou, You've Heard It All, I'm in Love Again, and Life Is a Song Worth Singing.

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