Monday, 4 June 2018

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Wake Up Everybody (1975)

  

Released November 1975

Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia

Teddy Pendergrass’s gorgeous, rich, warm voice to the forefront here as “Harold Melvin”, not just on the well-known “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and the monumental, extended “message” song that is “Wake Up Everybody”, but also on the wonderful, lesser-known “Keep On Loving You”. The duet with Sharon Paige on “You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good” is wonderful. Great conga-dominated backing too. 

This was to be Pendergrass’s final album with The Blue Notes, and he leaves on a high. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is complete soul heaven. This excellent remaster brings the best out in the track - the intro congas, Teddy’s voice, the rumbling bass, the keyboards, strings and then the big brass attack. A masterpiece of 70s soul magnificence. I had forgotten just what a truly mighty track this is.

The percussion on the whole album is top notch. It is all over “Tell The World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby”. The whole Gamble and Huff Philly production can take an average song and turn it into something very special indeed. They do here. This song is a tour de force. For a few years, in the mid 70s, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes were all over the radio. I just have to hear Teddy’s wonderful voice against that backing and its 1974-75 again.

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