All Aboard the 'Love Train'

A compilation of classics from the Philadelphia label that became movement.

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Since the box-set producers went so far as to include non-PIR songs, listeners may wonder why wouldn't they also exhume some of the more obscure gems in the PIR catalog, like the rare jazz LPs from the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra or Monk Montgomery? This is where Love Train falters. If you're already a serious Philly soul fan, most likely you'll already have most of the material from this "greatest hits" treatment of the label. Luckily Leo Sacks produced Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records, earlier this year, with rare grooves from Yellow Sunshine, Soul Devalients and The Mellow Moods.

Small qualms aside, Love Train delivers a superb and succinct glimpse into one of the most enduring legacies in black American music. Now that we have that solid soundtrack, can someone out there give us that much-belated, big-budgeted Hollywood movie?

John Murph is a regular contributor to The Root.