Archie Bell / Archie Bell & the Drells

Where Will You Go When the Party's Over/Hard Not to Like It/Strategy [Westside]

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As a package, the three albums contained on these two CDs offer a well-rounded picture of the Drells at the time of their Gamble & Huff days at Philly International. For starters, these records were all aimed at disco, being recorded in 1976, 1977, and 1979, respectively. It is true that most of this material doesn't match the brilliant work they did at Atlantic, but then, it's hard to dismiss any of these records out of hand. Given the pure, big string and popping bassline treatment that was so prevalent at Philly, it's easy to see why these records charted. Using the production team of McFadden, Whitehead, and Carstarphen, all three albums were aimed squarely at the charts and they all did. While Strategy shows a creative dearth, the other two sets are fine examples of Philly soul at the end of the mid-'70s. Tracks such as the killer soul ballad "Right Where I Want to Be," the funky stroll of the title track to Where Will You Go When the Party's Over, "Dancin' Man," "Disco Fever," "Real Good Feeling," and "It's Hard Not to Like You" from Hard Not to Like It are stealthy and solid, as is the fine "We've Got Something" from Strategy. With a fine price as attraction and decent notes in the package, any collector of Philly soul or '70s funk and disco would be well advised to snag this collection while it's available.

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