A Virtual Throwback To The Jams You Love



If you don’t know me by now

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were a Philadelphia-based R&B group formed in the late 1950s. Originally known as The Charlemagnes, the group underwent several name changes before settling on Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. The group’s signature sound was a blend of soulful vocals and smooth instrumentals, with Teddy Pendergrass joining the band in 1970 on lead vocals and Melvin’s distinctive falsetto hitting the highs.

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes Perform “If you don’t know me by now” on Soul Train, Circa 1972.

One of their biggest hits was “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” which was released in 1972. The song was written by songwriting duo Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and became a massive hit, reaching number one on the R&B charts and number three on the pop charts. The song’s poignant lyrics, coupled with Teddy P’s soaring vocals, struck a chord with audiences and cemented the group’s place in R&B history. The song was originally recorded by the group’s fellow artists, Labelle, but when their version failed to gain traction, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes were given the opportunity to record it, and the rest is history. “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” has since been covered by a variety of artists, including Simply Red, who took the song to the top of the charts in the UK in 1989.

Simply Red, cover of “If you don’t know me by now”, released 1989.

It’s crazy when you think about this; that the song almost didn’t make it onto the album. According to legend, producer Thom Bell was initially resistant to including it, feeling that it was too slow and not in line with the uptempo disco sound that was dominating the charts at the time. However, after some convincing from Gamble and Huff, the song was added to the album and quickly became a standout track. To this day, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” remains a beloved classic and a testament to the enduring power of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ music.

Keep the legends alive!


Love’s Train – R&B’s national anthem

There are just some things that have the ability to remain timeless. “Love’s Train” by Con Funk Shun has proven that after 40 years this can still top the charts. Arguably one of the greatest R&B groups of their time, Con Funk Shun knew they had struck gold once they had heard the finished product, but it took a little traction to get there. Originally, Felton Pilate wrote the music with a more “quiet storm” appeal to it. Michael Cooper, the bands lead vocalist, took the music and gave it new lyrics with a different and more emotional feel to it. After hashing it out over the changes, the band agreed to go with the newer version and the rest is history.

Love’s Train by Con Funk Shun

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What kills me about this jam is that it is based on a true story about a little love triangle involving Cooper and Pilate themselves. Supposedly, they both were pretty smitten over the same ‘special lover’ and the situation somewhat played out as described in the song. What’s even more interesting to me is that during the song writing process of the song there was little to no awkwardness between the two. I guess when you are big talents, ‘that’s the way it goes’ and it’s just good sauce for great song writing.

Con Funk Shun

Con Funk Shun started out in Vallejo, California in 1969 formed by Michael Cooper and Louis McCall and the two were high school classmates. “Love’s Train” was released in 1982 on their tenth album, To the Max and apparently was big on the minds of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, better known these days as Silk Sonic. The duo put out their cover of the jam for Valentine’s day of this year, 2022 and it was an unknown surprise according to Pilate. He said the cover was an honor to him and they did it justice. It’s evident that the rest of the mainstream world thinks so as well do the popularity of the Silk Sonic version. This seems to be one well devised formula for a great hit: take a timeless jam and let an amazing current group at it for a refreshing take and you’ve got magic.

Love’s Train by Silk Sonic

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shake_GAPband_album_labelWe’re getting this started while we are on that GAP Band kick because we’re going to be on it for a minute.  Let’s take it back to their big break through record hitting the R&B charts in 1979 off their self titled album, check out Shake.  

When you need your daily Funk dose of heavy horn sections, perfectly timed Continue reading “SHAKE: THE GAP BAND”

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