One of the many shining lights of the 1960’s soul, jazz and blues scene was the outstanding vocalist Esther Phillips and her recordings on Lenox, Atlantic and Roulette records. Released via Soul Music Records a subsidiary of Cherry Records a new 5 CD box set looks to champion this oft over looked artists pulling in crowds from Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Tami Terrell.
The first disc begins with records from her Lenox years that have a slight country feel, which does nothing to lessen the love for her music, infact this widens the appeal to Phillips music. With beautiful tracks such as Just Out Of Reach, Half A Heart , the mush covered Release Me and While It Lasted, the playing from her empowered backing band are never out of line or out of shape, the pace and power fill the room with rhythm and rhyme, deeply connected to changing the also rans of music with their own musical bag of fortunes.
Moving onto her heavy weight recordings for the legendary Atlantic label begin to show a formidability to covert from country to a powerhouse soul songstress. Covering The Beatles And I Love Her and I Love Him, cute flute on Makin Whoopee and the heart stops via Let Me Know When It’s Over. The complete change of popular tempo to the well known As Tears Go By is a slight surprise but nonetheless engaging. There’s some all surrounding church organ with a change of sex to the Percy Slegde epic When A Man Loves A Woman.
There are further treats afoot via live pickings on the final disc. Send Me Someone To Love has a similar title to the Queen classic, yet this a jazz shuffler of the highest degree. Its hard to fathom with this music being played live that anyone would be chatting mid song, but that’s exactly with you hear before Phillips delves deep into a subtle smooth version of Look What Happened To Me. There are further soul epics in the guise of I’m In Love with sweet doo doo backing vocals whilst Crazy Love closes the set in a similar form as My Whole World Is Falling Down.
Simply this quite sensational set of Phillips work is a healthy reminder to her charm and uplifting body of work, infact she brightens any day, mid rain fall or snow fall, her vocals bright a ray of sunshine before than any vitamin tablet will ever give.
Brand New Day can be purchased via the Cherry Red website