Esther Phillips The Best of Esther Phillips (1962-1970) (2-CD)
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- Number of Discs: 2
- Released: March 4, 1997
- Label: Rhino
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.Release Me
- 2.Am I That Easy to Forget?
- 3.I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know About Him
- 4.No Headstone on My Grave
- 5.Hello Walls
- 6.Mojo Hannah
- 7.I Saw Me
- 8.Double Crossing Blues
- 9.It's Too Soon to Know
- 10.Out of the Blue
- 11.Makin' Whoopee
- 13.'Tis Autumn
- 14.Moonglow / Theme from "Picnic"
- 15.And I Love Him
- 16.Some Things You Never Get Used To
- 17.Let Me Know When It's Over
- 18.I Could Have Told You So
- 19.The Party's Over
- 20.As Tears Go By
- 21.Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
- 22.Crazy He Calls Me
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.When a Woman Loves a Man
- 2.Try Me
- 3.When Love Comes to the Human Race
- 4.I'm Sorry
- 5.Please Send Me Someone to Love
- 6.Cry Me a River Blues
- 7.I'm Getting 'Long Alright
- 8.It Could Happen to You
- 9.Set Me Free
- 10.Brand New Day
- 11.Crazy Love
- 12.All God Has Is Us
- 13.Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry
- 14.I'm in the Mood for Love (Moody's Mood for Love)
- 15.Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You
- 16.Sweet Dreams
- 17.Nobody But You
- 18.Too Much of a Man (To Be Tied Down)
Recorded between 1962 and 1970. Includes liner notes by David Nathan.
Personnel: Cissy Houston, Estelle Brown, Dee Dee Warwick, Sylvia Shemwell (vocals); Everett Barksdale, Charles Macey (guitar, mandolin); Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale , Bill Suymer, Don Arnone, Al Schackman, Reggie Young , Barry Galbraith, Mundell Lowe, Billy Butler, Charlie Freeman, Carl Lynch (guitar); Bob Bushnell (electric guitar); Robert Maxwell, Margaret Ross (harp); Art Ryerson, Al Chernet (mandolin); Joseph Malignaggi, Sol Shapiro, Arthur Bogin, Arnold Eidus, Harry Allen, Julie Held, Bernard Eichen, Max Pollikoff, Gene Orloff, Emanuel Green (violin); Harry Azen, Dave Markowitz, Cal Fleisig, Norman Forrest, Al Brown (viola); Peter Makas, Joe Tekula, Harry Shapiro, George Ricci (cello); Jerome Richardson (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Artie Kaplan (flute, saxophone); Romeo Penque (flute, tenor saxophone); Joe Gentle, Hubert Laws (flute); Phil Woods (clarinet, alto saxophone); Robert Ashton (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Phil Bodner (bass clarinet); Charles DeAngelis, King Curtis, Seldon Powell (tenor saxophone); Haywood Henry, Danny Banks (baritone saxophone); James Maxwell, Dud Bascomb, Ernie Royal, Joe Newman , Lamar Wright, Snooky Young, Bernie Glow, Thad Jones, Jimmy Nottingham, Al DeRisi (trumpet); William Berry (flugelhorn); Brooks Tillotson, Albert Richmond (French horn); Glenn Jackson, J.J. Johnson , Jimmy Cleveland, Kai Winding, Quentin Jackson, Urbie Green, Wayne Andre, Billy Byers, Tony Studd, Buddy Morrow, Bart Varsalona (trombone); Don Butterfield (tuba); Jack Wilson (piano, electric piano); Ernie Hayes, Paul Griffin (piano, organ); Dave McKenna, Moe Weschler, Spooner Oldham (piano); Leroy Glover, Richard Tee, Arif Mardin, Bobby Emmons (organ); Jim Dickinson, Mike Utley (keyboards); Gary Burton , George Devens, Tyree Glenn (vibraphone); Ike Isaacs (acoustic bass); Al Gorgoni, Russ Saunders, Jerry Lewis, James Tyrell (electric bass); Chuck Rainey (bass guitar); Sol Gubin, Donald Bailey , Gary Chester , Gene Chrisman, Grady Tate, Mel Lewis, Ray Lucas, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Bobby Donaldson, Sammy Creason, Herb Lovelle, Bobby Gregg (drums); Dom Um Romao, Warren Smith , Phil Kraus (percussion); Noah Hopkins, June Magruder, Ann Phillips, Charles Magruder, Howard Roberts , The Anita Kerr Singers, Tony Orlando (background vocals).
Audio Remasterers: Dan Hersch; Bill Inglot.
Liner Note Author: David Nathan.
Director: Garry Sherman.
Unknown Contributor Role: Melissa Totten.
Arrangers: Cliff Parman; Tony Randazzo; Garry Sherman; Tom Washington; Leroy Glover; Jimmy Wisner; King Curtis; Oliver Nelson; Ray Ellis; Arif Mardin; Tommy Cogbill; Bergen White; Bill Justis; Esther Phillips.
Although former child R&B star Esther Phillips really hit her mature peak in the '60s, commercially she had a hard time finding a niche. "Release Me," her uptown R&B version of a country song, made the pop Top Ten in 1962. But she only dented the charts occasionally over the course of the next decade, despite recording frequently in a number of styles, usually (but not always) for Atlantic. This two-CD, 40-song set is an excellent distillation of work that isn't well known even by R&B devotees, drawing from about half a dozen albums and numerous singles, mostly from Atlantic, but also including 45s she made for Roulette in 1969; about half of the songs on this collection, in fact, were never issued on an album. Phillips was to a degree damned by her versatility: too suave and refined to be classified as a straight soul singer, she takes on jazz, pop, show tunes, blues, the Beatles (her gender-morphed "And I Love Him" was a substantial hit), the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and more. Like Etta James, the Columbia-era Aretha Franklin, and Nina Simone, she was one of those singers who fell between genre cracks: not quite soul, rock, R&B, jazz, pop, or blues, though elements of all those styles were present in her work. Actually, she wasn't quite as good as any of those above-mentioned legends, with a nasal, edgy style that won't be to everyone's taste, somewhat reminiscent (though not as impressive as) Nina Simone's. The smooth arrangements mine the wide territory between Dinah Washington and Dionne Warwick, though again, she wasn't as well-equipped for success with such an approach as those two were. All these caveats aside, if you enjoy the work of any of the reference points listed above, you'll most likely like Esther Phillips' work on these recordings as well; she's just not quite in the same Hall of Fame class. ~ Richie Unterberger
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