Sound Note

Sound Note
My Philly Playlist
by Lee Nelson

Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes from invited artists and community members consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.

Lee Nelson shares her Philly playlist—a mix of Philly pop, R&B, and jazz.


I'm a middle aged White Jewish Woman. I grew up here in Philly and remember when I heard WDAS for the first time. I thought I died and went to heaven. Second time I thought I died and went to heaven was seeing the House Band and James Brown at the Uptown. And speaking of Philly, I didn't know till recently that Odean Pope played in the Uptown's House Band. Philly has a varied and rich R&B heritage, and looking at my playlist this question pops into my brain—Did Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes EVER record or write anything bad? NOPE.

I hated jazz in my 20s. My cousin was briefly married to the brother of McCoy Tyner and my family would talk about him and play his music—I just didn't get it. Then in the early 70s I got dragged by my then boyfriend to the Electric Factory for a benefit and there was a jazz orchestra. I didn't know till last year that it was the RoMas Orchestra led by Cal Massey. How I went from hating jazz to loving it in my 50s is an interesting story (well at least to me) but suffice to say it involves my daughter and a jazz saxophonist; her then boyfriend. They would visit me; he would talk about Coltrane, and I would listen. I started listening and I fell in love with the history of jazz and the music. I have a lot of catching up to do (jazz wise that is).


Lee's Playlist:


Patti LaBelle

Teddy Pendergrass

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (ALL, but "Wake up Everybody" ESPECIALLY)

Patty and the Emblems (Ok they were from Camden but it's almost Philly)

The Trammps, "Disco Inferno"


John Coltrane

McCoy Tyner

Cal Massey


Sound Notes
Print Friendly, PDF & Email