If you appre­ci­ate the art of dis­co and soul remix­es, chances are you can’t get enough of Tom Moulton’s work.  After all, he didn’t just per­fect the 12-inch remix — he invent­ed it.  Harmless Records has done a lot to keep his lega­cy alive, reis­su­ing mix­es new and old via their amaz­ing Philly International Classics: The Tom Moulton Remixes box and their Philly Regrooved col­lec­tions.  They’ve added to this lega­cy once more with a Philly Regrooved 3 — and it’s the best entry in this series thus far.

Philly Regrooved 3 has a new wrin­kle that the first two vol­umes didn’t have: a greater vari­ety of record labels to choose from.  The pro­duc­ers of this set were able to draw from a lot of key labels in the ‘70s renais­sance of Philly Soul — Atlantic & Atco, Columbia, Buddah — and they have assem­bled a gen­er­ous 2-disc set list that mix­es well-known hits with deep-cat­a­log clas­sics to cre­ate a ful­ly-round­ed pic­ture of this sound.

That said, the mix­ing is what mat­ters here — and Moulton is in strong form on this set.  The first disc shows his flair for ampli­fy­ing the dra­ma in a song, like when he rebuilds the intro of New York City’s “I’m Doin’ Fine Now” into a tense slow-burn­er where the fuse is lit by a chick­en-scratch rhythm gui­tar line that ful­ly blos­soms into the hero­ic, orches­tral arrange­ment that fans know well.  Similarly, the grandiose arrange­ment of Blue Magic’s “Look Me Up” is bro­ken up into a mul­ti-part dis­co sym­pho­ny com­plete with a break­down and the intro of Melba Moore’s “Standing Right Here” is reworked to have a roller­coast­er-style set of peaks and val­leys before delv­ing into the song itself.  Another gem on this disc is an excel­lent extend­ed ver­sion of the cult fave “Got To Get You Back” by Sons Of Robin Stone, which milks the max­i­mum dra­ma from its stomp­ing beat and mar­tial horns.

The sec­ond disc also offers plen­ty of delights.  It starts with a jaw-drop­per of a mix in Moulton’s take on the William DeVaughn hit “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got”: this song has a stripped-down arrange­ment for a Philly Soul tune and Moulton stays true to its min­i­mal­ism, extend­ing its con­ga-led grooves and med­i­ta­tive organ lines into some­thing sub­tle yet total­ly hyp­notic.   “Hold Back The Night” by the Trammps is given a mix that teas­es out its jazzy swing and the Spinners’ “One Of A Kind Love Affair” gets a killer new intro that is pure dance­floor dra­ma, slow­ly lay­er­ing the pound­ing intro rhythm in a tense man­ner until release is given by a sud­den out­pour­ing of the main melody.  Elsewhere, the remix of Bettye Swann’s “Kiss My Love Goodbye plays up its morse-code gui­tar line and omi­nous horns to height­en the song’s dra­ma and Loose Change’s “Babe” is reworked in a way that shows off the classy orches­tral arrange­ment to mes­mer­iz­ing effect.

Better yet, Philly Regrooved 3 fea­tures two mix­es that make their debut here. “Soul Recession” is a mod­ern track from dis­co-era Salsoul favorites Double Exposure, who deliv­er a con­vinc­ing old-school groove that Moulton pumps up into a nine-min­ute epic that shows off the dex­ter­i­ty of its play­ers.  However, the killer of the two new inclu­sions is “The Way You Love Me” by Ron Hall & The Muthafunkaz, which Moulton trans­forms into a plush 13 min­utes-and-change extrav­a­gan­za that deploys every trick in the book: a hyp­notic slow-build intro, soar­ing strings, even a vibes solo.  Once you hear it, you’d swear it was a for­got­ten hit from the mid-‘70s — and it’s like­ly to become a new favorite for many fans of vin­tage soul.

In short, Philly Regrooved 3 is a must for Philly Soul fans as well as any­one who can appre­ci­ate a good, clas­si­cal­ly-styled soul remix.  The track selec­tion is excel­lent, Moulton’s chops are in fine fet­tle and the two new tracks push the set’s val­ue over the top.