‘Philly Soul’, also known as The Sound Of Philadelphia (TSOP) was a popular genre of soul music created by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in the late 1960s and 1970s. One group who was synonymous with Philly Soul is one of my favorites, The Intruders.
The group was formed in 1960, they were influenced by doo wop and gospel. Its original members were Sam “Little Sony” Brown, Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards and Phillip Terry, who were from Philadelphia. In 1969, Sam Brown was replaced by Bobby Starr, and returned to the group in 1973. Eugene Daughtry from North Carolina, was also a member.
In 1961, they signed with Gowen Records and released the singles “I’m Sold On You” and “This Is My Song”. In 1965, Gamble and Huff decided to launch their own label and they wanted to write and produce for The Intruders. They released the song “(We’ll Be) United” in 1966 on Gamble Records, reaching #14 on the R&B Singles Charts. The second single on Gamble Records entitled “Together” in 1967, reaching #9 on the R&B Singles Charts. album “The Intruders Are Together” was released that same year.
In 1968, The Intruders had their greatest success with the single “Cowboys To Girls”. It went#1 on the R&B Singles Charts and was a million seller! The follow up single,”(Love Is Like) A Baseball Game” also in 1968, reached #4 on the R&B Singles Charts, while the LP, “Cowboys To Girls” reached #11 on the R&B Album Charts that same year. In 1970, The Intruders released the album “When We Get Married”. The title track went #8t on the R&B Singles Charts.
Three years later, in 1973, “I’ll Always Love My Mama” – a touching song dedicated to their mothers and a Mother’s Day favorite as well as being mine – reaching #6 six on the R&B Singles Charts. Kenny Gamble’s mother Ruby was the inspiration for the song. The single “I Wanna Know Your Name” reached #9 on the R&B Singles Charts and the group’s next album, 1973’s’ “Save The Children” reached #12 on the R&B Album Charts.
The Intruders final LP through their contract with Gamble Records, “The Energy Of Love” was issued on the TSOP label in 1975.
The same year, he group disbanded but their music became popular on the West Coast by the Latino community in the late 1970s and 1980 and The Hacienda Brothers and Tierra have covered their songs. Eugene Daughtry passed away on Christmas Day in 1994 from cancer; Sam “Little Sonny” Brown committed suicide in 1995; while the other original members, Robert Edwards and Phill Terry left the group after becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses. Edwards passed away October 15th, 2016 from a heart attack. Phill Terry is the last surviving original member.
As of 2018, The Intruders today include Bobby Starr, Glen Montgomery and Phil Gay. The Intruders brought the Philly Soul sound to the masses cementing their legacy in Black Music.
Perry Thompson is President and CEO of the Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society
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