This is an extraordinary 26-song collection, mostly of R&B, and all of which is associated with Philadelphia and with Heritage Records founder Jerry Ross as producer or composer (although not all of the material appeared on Ross' Heritage label). It's devised to give a CD airing to a lot of rare R&B that hasn't previously been available in digital audio, and it does that job magnificently, as well as restoring to availability some small parts of the Cameo/Parkway catalog (still buried by ABKCO Records), which licensed several of these titles. The disc opens with one of the sweetest records ever to come from the city of brotherly love, "These Will Be the Good Old Days" by the Dreamlovers. Fans of the Cyrkle will be delighted with the soft, harmony-based, folk-like "Don't Say That You Love Me" and the Beach Boys-style, teen slice-of-life "Parking in the Kokomo," cut by the band under their original name, the Rhondells. Some of what's here will be surprising on several counts, starting with Keith's "I Can't Go Wrong," a gloriously seductive and soulful non-soul record built on one of the best songs that Jerry Ross ever signed his name to; then there's the magnificent 1964 soul ballad "You Don't Know What You Got Until You Lose It" by Kenny Gamble, who was still a little ways away from success but fully deserving of it based on the evidence here. The real discovery on this CD for most listeners will be "Let Me Down Easy" by Chapter One, a brilliant, soaring, ethereal piece of mid-1970s soul. Kenny Gamble and Thom Bell turn up together as Kenny & Tommy on the 1963 single "I'll Get By." The fact that the songs tend to jump around, out of chronological order and across the decades, matters less than one would think, because the quality of Ross' work was consistent across the two decades or so covered by this anthology, even as R&B gave way to soul and then to disco.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder