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Total Soul Classics: Here to Create Music

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Album Review

As half of the legendary Gamble & Huff team and a co-owner of Philadelphia International Records, Leon Huff was among the top soul producer/songwriters of the 1970s. Huff was 37 when, in 1980, he surprised the R&B world by recording his only solo album, Here to Create Music. This largely instrumental effort, which was out of print for many years before finally being reissued on CD in 1999, is surprising in a number of respects. First, Huff's partner Kenny Gamble has nothing to do with it — Huff does all of the writing and producing himself. Second, Here to Create Music didn't go out of its way to appeal to black radio; much of it has a loose, casual, informal quality. The CD's weakest offering is "Your Body Won't Move if You Can't Feel the Groove," a generic, clichéd disco opener that wastes the talents of Teddy Pendergrass, Eddie Levert, and other Philly International artists of 1980. But after that, things improve considerably. Huff, who is heard on organ and keyboards, keeps listeners guessing by hitting them with everything from the haunting "No Greater Love" (which sounds like the type of instrumental that War's Lee Oskar was providing on his solo albums) to the gritty blues number "Low Down, Hard Time Blues" and the catchy, Jimmy Smith-like soul-jazz tune "Tasty." Here to Create Music falls short of essential, but it's a decent, generally sincere outing that isn't without historic significance. [Legacy's 2008 reissue of the album adds two bonus tracks: "Sassy" and "Money's Tight," the B-side of "Tight Money."]


Born: April 08, 1942 in Camden, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Session pianist Leon Huff became half of a seminal R&B songwriting and production team when he teamed with Kenny Gamble in 1965. Huff played on sessions for Phil Spector, the Ronettes, and Carole King in New York City before moving to Philadelphia. He formed the Locomotions, and did sessions for Cameo and Swan. Huff performed on the song "The 81," which was co-written by Kenny Gamble, who was at the session seeing the tune being recorded by Candy & the Kisses. Huff earned his first hit as a composer...
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Total Soul Classics: Here to Create Music, Leon Huff
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