These two original Atlantic albums were recorded at the height of Ester's popularity in the mid-1960's. "Release Me," her country breakthrough hit, Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It," and Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" are a few of the terrific songs included in this collection.
Living Blues - 3-4/02, p.82
"...Illustrates Phillips' versatility and tart Dinah Washington-tinged phrasing..."
2 LPs on 2 CDs: THE COUNTRY SIDE OF ESTHER (1966)/SET ME FREE (1986).
Personnel includes: Esther Phillips (vocals); Cliff Parman (arranger, conductor); Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale, Reggie Young, Billy Butler (guitar); Seldon Powell, King Curtis (tenor saxophone); Spooner Oldham, Paul Griffin,
Leroy Glover (piano); Arif Mardin, Ernie Hayes (organ); George Duvivier, Jimmy Tyrell (bass); Herbie Lovelle, Bernard Purdie, Bobby Gregg (drums); The Dixie Flyers.
Producers include: Jerry Wexler, Bert Berns, Chps Moman,Dan Penn, Tom Dowd, Dave CRawford, Teddy Randazzo.
Recorded between 1964 & 1970. Originally released on Atlantic.
Personnel: Esther Phillips (vocals); Cissy Houston, Estelle Brown, Dee Dee Warwick, Jimmy Ricks, Sylvia Shemwell (vocals); Everett Barksdale, Charles Macey (guitar, mandolin); Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale , Lenny Pogan, Bill Suyker, Al Scackman, Don Arnone, Reggie Young , Charlie Freeman, Carl Lynch (guitar); Margaret Ross (harp); Art Ryerson, Al Chernet (mandolin); Artie Kaplan (reeds); Fred Ford, Charles DeAngelis, King Curtis, Seldon Powell (tenor saxophone); Haywood Henry, Jimmy Mitchell (baritone saxophone); Dud Bascomb, Ben Couley, Lamar Wright, Snooky Young, Jimmy Nottingham, Al DeRisi (trumpet); Albert Richmond, Tony Studd (trombone); Don Butterfield (tuba); Leroy Glover (piano, organ); Moe Weschler, Paul Griffin (piano); Arif Mardin, Ernie Hayes (organ); Jim Dickensen, Mike Utley (keyboards); Gary Burton (vibraphone); Sol Gubin, Ray Lucas, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Bobby Gregg (drums); Warren Smith (percussion).
Liner Note Authors: Bob Rolontz; Anita Wexler; Norbert Hess; Jack Hooke; Ahmet Ertegun.
Recording information: Memphis, TN (02/06/1964-05/21/1970); Miami, FL (02/06/1964-05/21/1970); New York, NY (02/06/1964-05/21/1970).
Arrangers: Cliff Parman; Leroy Glover; Jimmy Wisner; Ray Ellis; Teddy Randazzo; Tommy Cogbill.
This two-disc set from Collectables features a pair of out of print Esther Phillips LPs: The Country Side of Esther Phillips and Set Me Free, both originally issued on Atlantic Records. Highlights among the 36 tracks include "I Really Don't Want to Know," "Crazy Love," "Am I That Easy to Forget," and "Catch Me I'm Fallin'." ~ Al Campbell