Classics: Archie Bell & The Drells – Let’s Groove (TSOP)
“Let’s groove, everybody groove…” Talkin’ about this mid-70’s period that saw me debuting as a DJ, I suppose ‘Let’s Groove’ happened to be quite pivotal. As getting me definitely into the Soul side of the things. And eventually determining what my appreciation of music would be about until now.
I’d just embraced the Philadelphia Sound. Hence my DJ guise (MFSB) although with a slightly different meaning. Thus finding myself a penchant for any kind of music as long as it hapened to be groovy. And, by that, also with The O’Jays. Therefore, needless to say as to how this ‘Let’s Groove Thing’ by the likes of Archie Bell & The Drells just appeared to me as an evidence at the time. With thank to its production work by the likes of McFadden & Whitehead along with Vic Carstarphen.
Strangely enough, ‘Let’s Groove’ only saw the light as a 7 inch. Thus making the album version a much better worth the investment at the end.
A native of Henderson, TX, Archie Bell is the older brother of Jerry Bell. Himself another artist in the family who made his reputation as a member of New Birth, then as the lead vocalist of Dazz Band formerly known as Kinsman Dazz.
Gifted with an incomparable voice, Archie Bell appeared as a natural leader. Forming The Drells back in 1966 with school mates James Wise, Willie Pernell, L.C. Watts and Cornelius Fuller. The year after, they signed with Houston-based label Ovide and eventually released ‘Tighten Up’ which Bell co-wrote with Billy Buttler.
Becomin’ a local hit, Atlantic snapped it soon after and gave it a national release in 1968. The first in an impressive series of Soul masterpieces along with the memorable ‘I Can’t Stop Dancing’ and ‘Here I Go’ which marked their period with Atlantic. This before joinin’ TSOP/Philadelphia International Records…
There, they completed their fame while givin’ Gamble & Huff‘s label some of their biggest classics. And, by that, pivotal gems in the history of The Philadelphia Sound. Beginning with ‘Soul City Walk’. But also ‘Let’s Groove’, ‘Let’s Go Disco’, ‘Everybody Have A Good Time’ and ‘Strategy’.
All in all, Archie Bell & The Drells have released a total of 7 studio albums. With their latest – ‘Strategy – back in 1979. They disbanded the year after, with their leader leavin’ to pursue a (brief) solo career. Mostly remembered for the boiling ‘Any Time Is Right’ on Indie label Becket Records. The last piece of music we would get from him bringin’ us to the obscure ‘Touchin’ You’ on the Canadian branch of WMOT. And this with the same team of producers that had brought ‘Any Time Is Right’.
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