PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A bit of the Philly sound is gone, with the death of one of the original members of the Intruders, a popular local soul music group that rose to prominence almost 50 years ago.
Robert Edwards was a backup singer, and the oldest member of the group which formed in the early 1960s. But it was their 1968 classic “Cowboys to Girls” that shot “Big Sonny” and company to the top of the national charts as the Geator, Jerry Blavat, told KYW Newsradio.
“They represented the streets of North Philadelphia, the streets of South Philadelphia. They represented the true soul sound at the beginning,” Blavat said.
That was the same time producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were crafting the Philly Sound. Gamble’s son, Chuck, runs the empire they built, Philadelphia International Records.
“They teamed to have hits with them and it was a joy for them to record them,” Gamble said.
Among the other Intruders hits in the 1960s and 1970s were “Together,” “I’ll Always Love My Mama” and “Love Is Like A Baseball Game.”
The original group disbanded in 1975, but others carry on the name with the blessing of Phil Terry, the lone surviving member of the original Intruders.
“He was the glue that kept it all together,” Terry recalled. “Four youngsters. Sometimes he could give us a look , we knew he meant it and everything rode right along.”
Edwards died quietly over the weekend at the age of 77.
Terry says a memorial service is set for Saturday, October 29th at 1 pm. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses at 19th and Somerset Streets in North Philadelphia.