Soul And / Or Related Artists
mfsb (mother, father, sister, brother)



above: courtesy of getty images


above: MFSB 1973 (click on the image for a larger view)

The MFSB group's name stood for Mother, Father, Sister, Brother.

The line-up was formed from an ensemble of more than thirty resident studio musicians based at Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios, and included (at various times):

Earl Young (drums)

Roland L. Chambers III (guitar) (b. 9th March 1944, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 8th May 2002)

Bobby Eli bobby eli

Bobby Eli (guitar)

Karl L. Chambers (drums) (b. 9th September 1946, Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, U.S. A. d. 24th February 2002)

James Herb Smith (guitar)

Lenny Pakula

lenny pakula

Lenny Pakula (keyboards) (d. July 2019)

Larry Moore

Quinton Joseph (drums) (b. 28th August 1946, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)

Norman Harris (guitar) (14th October 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 2oth March 1987, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Miguel Fuentes

Ron Baker (a.k.a. Ronnie Baker) (bass) (b. 1947. d. August 1990)

TJ Tindall (guitar) (b. Thomas Joshua Tindall, 1950, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A. d. 26th January 2016, New Hope, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Winnie Wilford (bass)

Vince Montana (vibes) (b. Vincent Montana Jr, 12th February 1928, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 13th April 2013, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Leon A. Huff (keyboards) (b. 8th April 1942, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Thom Bell (keyboards) (b. Thomas Randolph 'Thom' Bell, 26th January 1943, Kingston, Jamaica)

Larry Washington (vibes and percussion) (d. 6th March 1999)


Don Renaldo (strings and horns) (b. Vincent Pignotti)

Bobby Eli bobby eli

One of the founder members of MFSB was Bobby Eli.

An early incarnation of MFSB saw them as the uncredited performers on 'The Horse', a hit for Cliff Nobles And Co. in 1968.

At that time the string section consisted of Albert Barone, Angelo Petrella, Charles Appollonia, Diana Barnett, Romeo Distefano, Rudy Maliazia and Joe Donofrio.

The horn section consisted of Joe DeAngelis, Danny Eillions, Scott Temple, Milton Phibbs, Frederich Jainer, Ricci Genovese, Fred Linge, Rocco Bene, Robert Hatzwell and Edward Cascaralle.


Under the name of the James Boys, the group scored with the tune 'The Mule', whilst recording under other names including, the Music Makers and Family.

The ensemble really came to prominence whilst under the Gamble and Huff, Philadelphia International umbrella.

MFSB worked closely with record producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and arranger Thom Bell.

They backed up several groups including Harold Melvin and the The Bluenotes, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, the Spinners, the Intruders, the Three Degrees, Jerry Butler, Wilson Pickett, and Billy Paul.


'TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia)', the theme from television's Soul Train show, was a million-selling single in 1974.

Away from Philadelphia International, MFSB recorded alongside acts including The Stylistics, Melba Moore (on 'Standing Right Here') and the Detroit Spinners.

Their final album, 1981's 'Mysteries Of The World', was produced by Dexter Wansel.

Baker Haaris Young

ronnie baker, norman harris, earl young

Ronnie Baker passed away in 1990 from brain cancer.

Roland and Karl Chambers passed away within three months of each other in 2002.

In the year 2000, Dexter Wansel re-united MFSB to work upon a project for jazz artist, Jeff Majors, entitled 'Sacred 2000'.

MFSB really brought the sound of Philadelphia Soul out onto the dancefloors, without compromising either the group's arrangements, or the underlying, driving rhythms of the Philadelphia Sound.


top to bottom, left to right:

Ronnie Baker, Karl Chambers, Earl Young

Don Renaldo, Roland Chambers, Norman Harris, Lenny Pakula

Vince Montana, Larry Washington, Zach Zachary, Bobby Eli

Real Player


MFSB (Philadelphia International Records 1973)

Love Is The Message (Philadelphia International Records 1974)

Universal Love (Philadelphia international Records 1975)

Philadelphia Freedom! (Philadelphia International Records 1975)

Summertime (Philadelphia International Records 1976)

The End Of Phase 1 (Philadelphia International Records 1977)

The Gamble-Huff Orchestra (Philadelphia International Records 1979)

Mysteries Of The World (Philadelphia International Records 1981)

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