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Related: disco - Gamble & Huff - Philadelphia soul - soul - Love Is The Message (1973)

Twelve inch sleeve of Love Is The Message


MFSB (short for "Mother, Father, Sister, Brother") were a loose conglomeration of studio musicians who provided backing tracks for dozens of seminal Philadelphia soul recordings in the 1970s, and later released successful songs and albums as a standalone recording act.

Assembled by the production team of Gamble & Huff, MFSB was the house band for their Philadelphia International Records label and provided the signature smooth Philadelphia sound for many acts including the O'Jays, The Spinners, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and The Stylistics.

In 1974, Philadelphia International released an instrumental track which had been recorded by the band as the theme for the television show Soul Train as a single. The record, titled "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" was a hit on both the pop and R&B charts, and launched a recording career for the band under their own name. MFSB albums and singles were released for the rest of the decade, and their material later served as ample material for sampling by hip-hop musicians. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MFSB [Mar 2005]

1974: "Diamond in the back, sunroof top, digging the scene with a gangster lean"

  • It is a little know fact that MFSB provided backing for William DeVaughn 1974 smash hit "Be Thankful For What You Got", a track which was reinterpreted by Bunny Clarke, in a Lee 'Scratch' Perry production

    Love is the Message [...]

    MFSB are primarily known for their Love Is The Message, which probably is the granddaddy of all club music.

    'Mysteries Of the World' was a Loft classic produced by Dexter Wansel.


    Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff were the architect's of the Philly Sound , but the contractors who laid down those vivid, erotic rhythms for the O'Jays, the Blue Notes and the stable of stars at Philadelphia International Records was Mother, Father, Sister, Brother--better knows as MFSB. These indelibly arranged instrumentals illustrate why MFSB made history, and the charts. If love was the message, then MFSB were the masters of communication: a groove collective that burned with passion and romance, a sex machine that sizzled in the car, on the dance floor and wherever lover turned out the lights.


    This instrumental ensemble punctuated many hits produced by the duo of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in the '70s. They were a blend of string, horn, and rhythm players. The roster included bassist Ronnie Baker, keyboardist Lenny Pakula, guitarists Norman Harris, James Herb Smith and Roland Chambers, drummer Earl Young , and percussionists/drummers Miguel Fuentes and Quinton Joseph. Gamble, Huff, Don Renaldo, Dexter Wansel, and Vince Montana all took turns conducting the orchestra. While backing The O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the Intruders, and many others, MFSB also cut several LPs as performers from 1973 through 1980. "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)," with The Three Degrees, was Soul Train's theme song in 1974 and also topped the R&B; and pop charts. They earned another hit in 1975 with "T.L.C. (Tender Lovin' Care)," which made it to number two. The title track of their final LP, "Mysteries of the World," was a big hit in England in 1980. They also did sessions with Melba Moore, the Stylistics, Spinners, and others outside the Philadelphia International umbrella. -- Ron Wynn