MFSB (Mother Father Sister Brother)
"TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)"
(Read All about the Group & the Song after the video)
MFSB (according to the "clean" interpretation, Mother Father Sister Brother) was a pool of more than thirty studio musicians based at Philadelphia’s famed Sigma Sound Studios. They worked closely with the production team of Gamble and Huff and producer/arranger Thom Bell, and backed up such groups as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, the Spinners, Wilson Pickett, and Billy Paul.
In 1972, MFSB began recording as a named act for the Philadelphia International label. "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" also known as the Soul Train theme was their first and most successful single. Released in March 1974, it peaked at number one on the US Billboard pop and R&B charts. "TSOP" was influential in establishing the disco sound. The track sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in April 1974.
Assembled by record producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, MFSB was the house band for their Philadelphia International Records label and originated the signature smooth "Philly sound" that dominated the early 1970s for the artists who recorded at the Sigma Sound Studios, including the O'Jays, the Spinners, the Bluenotes, The Delfonics, Blue Magic, The Intruders, Three Degrees, Jerry Butler, and Teddy Pendergrass. Later in the decade, the collective would become known for the hi-hat-dominated disco sounds that became popular in the late 1970s with groups such as The Trammps, First Choice, Ripple and Double Exposure.
It was the 1972 release of their first album, MFSB, that put them on the map. This marked the beginning of a string of instrumental hits that brought major attention to a large orchestra who laid the foundation for the Sound of Philadelphia. The line-up of musicians included Karl Chambers, Earl Young, and Norman Fearrington on drums; Norman Harris, Roland Chambers, Bobby Eli, and T.J. Tindall on guitar; Winnie Wilford and Ronnie Baker on bass; Vincent Montana, Jr. on vibes, tympani, orchestra bells, chimes, percussion, arrangements and conductor, and Larry Washington on congas and bongos Harold Ivory Williams on keyboards, plus Leon Huff and Thom Bell on keyboards and Don Renaldo on strings and horns featuring Rocco Bene on trumpet.
MFSB's disco sound first hit the top of the Hot 100 charts as the backing band for The O'Jays' "Love Train" in March, 1973.
In 2005, drummer Keith Benson (who had joined the group upon Young's departure) revived the group with Gamble's help. The lineup included himself on drums, Jimmy Williams on bass, Dennis Harris and Barton French on guitars, and vocalists Carla Benson, Johnny Ingram, and Michael Clark. In 2007, Philadelphia's Inner City Horns (George Bussey, Jr. - saxophone, Bill Hosbach, Jr. - trumpet, and Matt Vernon - trombone) were added to the mix. The group performs live at private and concert events, and was featured at the inauguration of Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter.
In the spring of 1974, Philadelphia International released an instrumental track which had been recorded by the band as the theme music for the television show Soul Train as a single. The record, titled "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and also topped the R&B chart and the adult contemporary chart. The success of "TSOP" launched a recording career for the band under their own name. MFSB albums and singles were released for the rest of the decade.
MFSB recorded a cover of The Nite-Liters's 1971 instrumental "K-Jee", which gained some popularity when it was featured in a key scene in the film Saturday Night Fever (1977). It is also included in the soundtrack to that movie. "Sexy" (1975) was later used as a prize cue for the "Big Deal of the Day" on the 1980 version of Let's Make a Deal.
Another popular MFSB number, "Love Is The Message", has been a favorite of dance/disco DJs since its release; countless remixes, both official and unofficial, exist of the song. On September 20, 2004, the record became among the first to be inducted into the newly formed Dance Music Hall of Fame. In October 2004, the song appeared in the video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, playing on funk radio station, Bounce FM.
Due to a disagreement with Gamble & Huff over finances, several members of the group moved on to Salsoul Records, where they became known as The Salsoul Orchestra. Other members began performing as The Ritchie Family orchestra, and John Davis and the Monster Orchestra. Not to be outdone, Gamble & Huff replaced them with a new rhythm section consisting of Charles Collins on drums, Michel Foreman on bass guitar, and Dennis Harris on lead guitar. They also employed Dexter Wansel and others on MFSB's latter recordings for the label.
Since 1980, MFSB's "My Mood" has been the closing theme music for the Friday 6:00 p.m. newscast on WRC-TV (NBC4), the NBC-owned television station in Washington, D.C.. MFSB's "TLC" (Tender Lovin' Care) has been used for decades as the closing credits theme for the Washington, DC version of the "It's Academic" quiz show filmed at WRC-TV.
In 2008, some of the members appeared together on new recordings made at Bobby Eli’s Studio E/The Grooveyard in the Philly suburbs. Musicians on the session were Earl Young on drums, Bobby Eli and Dennis Harris on guitars, Jimmie Williams on bass guitar, Rikki Hicks on percussion and T G Conway on keys. Two songs have been released from that sessions namely ‘Soul Recession’ by Double Exposure and ‘There I go falling in love again’ by Chiquita Green.
"TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" is a 1974 hit recording by MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother) featuring vocals by The Three Degrees. A classic example of the Philadelphia soul genre, it was written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff as the theme for the American musical television program Soul Train, which specialized in African American musical performers. The single was released on the Philadelphia International label. It was the first television theme song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it is arguably the first disco song to reach that position.
The song is essentially an instrumental piece, featuring a lush blend of strings and horns in the Philadelphia soul style. There are only two vocal parts to the song: a passage close to the beginning during which The Three Degrees sing "People all over the world!"; and the chorus over the fadeout, "Let's get it on/It's time to get down". The words "People all over the world!" are not heard in the original version. The version heard on Soul Train also had the series title sung over the first four notes of the melody, "Soul Train, Soul Train". This particular version was released on a 1975 Three Degrees album, International.
"TSOP" hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1974 and remained there for two weeks, the first television theme song to do so in the history of that chart. It also topped the American R&B chart (for one week) and adult contemporary chart (for two weeks). The Three Degrees would revisit the top of the AC chart later in 1974 with their hit single, "When Will I See You Again".
Don Cornelius, the creator and host of Soul Train, refused to allow any references to the name of the television series when the single was released, leading Gamble and Huff to adopt the alternate title for the release. Cornelius would later admit that not allowing the single to be named Soul Train was a major mistake on his part. (As a result, the Three Degrees' singing of the show's name "Soul Train" during the chorus as heard on the TV version is not heard on the single.)
Although it was rerecorded a number of times for future versions of the show, and various different themes were used during the late 1970s and early 1980s, "TSOP" returned in the late 1980s and remained the theme song for Soul Train through the disco, 1980s R&B, new jack swing, hip-hop, and neo soul eras of black music.
"TSOP" was covered by Dexys Midnight Runners and released as a B-side on the 12" version of the "Jackie Wilson Said" single, later issued on the remastered version of the album Too-Rye-Ay. The band also used it to open some of their live shows.
Another remake of the tune was made in 1978 by reggae band Inner Circle, who had a history of covering American soul songs in the laid-back reggae style of the late 1970s.
Two more covers were made in 1987 (by George Duke), and 1999 (by Sampson); both versions would be used as themes for Soul Train. The 1999 theme would be used until Soul Train 's final episode in 2006.
The song is played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia prior to every Phillies home game. The song was also played after Vancouver Whitecaps NASL home games at Empire Stadium in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and after Vancouver 86ers CSL home games in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pilipinas, Game KNB?, a Philippines game show hosted by actor/politician Edu Manzano, used an adaptation of "TSOP" (Tanya) called Papayo Yowza as its theme. The song's opening was also sampled as program identification for all Philadelphia 76ers games broadcast on WCAU-AM in the mid-to-late 1970s.