Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cusp Song of the Day: TSOP

From Chapter 6: "TSOP" by MFSB Featuring the Three Degrees is not technically an instrumental since it repeats the phrase "people all over the world." But it never clarifies: What about them?. Are they supposed to join hands and start a love train? Pick up arms and go to war? As far as I'm concerned, the lack of a complete thought makes this song an honorary entry in the category of '70s instrumental hits I discussed yesterday.

TSOP? MFSB? What are these strings of apparently random letters? Well, the song title is an acronym for The Sound of Philadelphia. The band performing it is Mother Father Sister Brother.

This too raises questions: Why is The Sound of Philadelphia used as a theme for the long-running music show Soul Train, which started in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles? And are MFSB really related? At least that question I can answer: no. MFSB was producer Gamble & Huff's house band, their version of Motown's Funk Brothers. TSOP was a chance for the band to shine on their own, albeit without individual musicians' actually being identified.

In Cusp, Karen has started listening to R&B/soul station WBLS. One day, she hears a special on “The Philly Sound.” She says, "It turns out that a lot of the music I like on BLS, like the O’Jays and the Spinners, is made with the same group of musicians, called MFSB. Their own song “TSOP” was a big hit last year even though it didn’t make my radar back then." 

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