Philly Sound on display upstairs

As a teenager and young adult in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia in the 1960s and ’70s, Richard Pugliese was in the midst of music history in the making.

Picture of disk: TSOP by MFSB

It was the era when talented locals like Chubby Checker, Teddy Pendergrass and many others were becoming household names across the USA.   Richard went to music shows in local halls, listened to the now-legendary “boss jocks” of Philadelphia radio, and bought lots of records.

Maybe you’ve heard of these ‘records’? Slabs of vinyl with grooves cut in them. Spin ’em at 45 RPM, or 33-1/3, or 78, let a little needle ride in the grooves, and you’ve got music. Connoisseurs like Richard, who works in Rohrbach Library’s Acquisitions department, will tell you that no digital file can match the richness of sound you hear when a record is playing.

You can see a lot of Richard’s records highlighting Philly artists and labels, and even listen to some of the music that’s on them, in a display on the library’s Second Floor (foyer of the Quiet Area, outside Room 207). There’s an array of memorabilia related to the city’s famous music scene, along with some books, an ancient record player, an an iPod loaded with the sounds of Philadelphia.

Check it out—and if you want to know more, here are some resources:

A House On Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul by John A. Jackson (Oxford University Press, 2004)  This book in the library’s ebrary collection tells the story, year by year, of a pivotal epoch in Philly’s history. (KU login required to access ebrary.)

Gamble-Huff Music  The site of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the genius producers whose amazing work made Philadelphia the center of soul.

Audio: Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, interviewed by Terry Gross in Nov. 2008

Audio: American Routes: Philadelphia Sounds  A two-hour exploration of the great city’s musical culture from the O’Jays to Mummers to The Roots, with a special appearance by former club DJ Michael Nutter.  Multimedia tribute to artists and deejays who defined the Philly sound in years past.

Soul of America  Travel site with a section devoted to landmarks of Philadelphia soul.


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