Not that I don’t always do this, but, for some reason, I have been thinking about Gamble, Huff and Bell’s Philadelphia International Records label and the lush and sensual Sound of Philadelphia aesthetic that, legendarily, poured from it a lot lately.
Maybe it is because the studio that the Philly soul overlords – the 212 North 12th Street building known as Sigma Sound Studio – has been seeking historic designation throughout October, and that lawyers for the current property owners and the local preservationists led by Max Ochester and Aaron Levinson have been going back and forth. Permits filed with the City of Philadelphia within the last two years 2018 have presented elaborate gentrification-centric plans for a 10-story building with 26 dwellings, topped by a roof deck. Then again, we heard too, at one point, that the same new owners – long past Joe Tarsia’s family rule – were open to some sort of first-floor museum. We’ll keep you posted on this matter.
Maybe it is because the last great Verzuz session (the phenom of Instagram live stream collaboration between two era-appropriate artists) before the season one break several weeks ago occurred between R&B vocal legends Gladys Knight and Philly’s Patti Labelle at The Fillmore Philadelphia in Fishtown on a warm Sunday night. During that live and in-person battle-not-battle, Labelle tackled a slew of her familiar hits and loving favorites, many of which come from that Philly International label catalog.
It could also be that, in the last two weeks, Gamble & Huff have found themselves with a new resurgence of an old smash in the commercial placement of “You Got What I Need,” in an advertisement for the e-commerce craft site, Etsy.com.
The soulful Philly twosome composed that 1968 track for vocalist Freddie Scott – three years before launching PIR – and reaching #27 on the R&B charts at its time of release. Scott, famous for “Hey, Girl”, a top ten US pop hit in 1963, and “Are You Lonely for Me”, a #1 hit on the R&B chart in early 1967 was not a Philly native, but a Rhode Islander. Go figure.
“Seeing the Etsy commercial featuring the song on TV so prominently, makes us instantly reflect back 52 years when we wrote and produced the song in the studio for Freddie Scott – a great, yet unsung Soul/R&B artist and vocalist,” said Gamble & Huff in a joint statement. “We are so glad this original song and Freddie are getting their just recognition and their due.”
Anyone in hip hop circles knows that the Gamble & Huff track, like so many tunes before and after “You Got What I Need,” was sampled by Biz Markie on his 1989 hit “Just A Friend.” Kanye West, Pusha T, Common, Pusha T and Big Sean featuring Kid Cudi and Charlie Wilson sampled the song on “Good Friday” (2010). Ghostface Killah sampled it on “Save Me Dear” (2004). And in 2017, Janelle Monáe sang “You Got What I Need” in a Gap commercial promoting around Christmas time.
Keep on sampling.