Personnel includes: Linda Clifford, Curtis Mayfield.
This impressive collection focuses on the top disco artist at Curtom Records, Linda Clifford. While she may not be as well-remembered as Donna Summer, this compilation shows that Clifford created plenty of solid disco epics during her late-'70s/early-'80s chart tenure. Runaway Love: The Singles Anthology collects all of the songs released as singles during Clifford's time at Curtom, and further sweetens the package by including a couple of 12" mixes that helped her become a dancefloor favorite. Dynamic hits like "If My Friends Could See Me Now" and "Shoot Your Best Shot" remain as elegant and danceable as ever, but the real surprises are the rare non-album singles that open the package: "(It's Gonna Be) A Long Hard Winter" has an intriguingly Motown-styled sound that Clifford never tried again during her Curtom days, and "Turn the Key Softly" is a classy, sweetly orchestrated heartbreak ballad that should have been a hit. This compilation also includes "Between You Baby and Me" and "Love's Sweet Sensation," two tracks from the duet albums that Clifford recorded with Curtis Mayfield. Both songs mix the doo wop elements that characterized Mayfield's hits with the Impressions with a slick, glossy '70s production style to create delightful soul songs with a retro edge. To make the package even more enticing, the people at Castle Music have also thrown in I'm Yours, Clifford's 1980 Isaac Hayes-produced outing, as a bonus disc. All in all, Runaway Love: The Singles Anthology is a generous and well-assembled package that will cover both the needs of the casual listener and the hardcore Clifford fan. ~ Donald A. Guarisco