City Limits – 1975 – Circles
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Not one of the most famous groups on the Philly scene – but a great one!
The band’s got a two-male/two-female harmony sound, with some nice jazzy inflections that remind us of similarly-structured groups, like Side Effect and Creative Source during their Polygram years. The album’s got a great modern soul sound, with some sophisticated arrangements by Bruce Hawes and Norman Harris that are in a perfect late Philly mode.
City Limits is an offshoot of the Overbrook Singers from the Philadelphia high school of the same name. Their only album features songs by a host of Philly’s finest scribes: Cynthia Biggs, Joe Jefferson, Bruce Hawes, Charles Simmons, and Ted Wortham are comparable to tracks by the Spinners and other beneficiaries of the Philly Machine.
This fine effort didn’t just fall through a crack, it never got out the starting gate. Despite thoughtful ditties like the up-tempo, stomping “People (We Need a Change),” “Uncle James,” which first appeared on New York City’s debut album, “Circles,” and “Love (I Guess That’s the Fool in Me)“. The female lead, presumably Terri Wells, sounds like Tammi Terrell. Hopefully, this and other TSOP, Gamble, North Bay, and Philadelphia International tracks that went unnoticed will start appearing on compilation CDs.