Great work from a fantastic time in the career of singer Esther Phillips – a point when she brought her soulful style to the CTI/Kudu
Records label – and cut some of the best material of her career! Esther had already been making records for quite some time before these sides – early R&B work as Little Esther Phillips in the 50s, and 60s soul for Atlantic – but the sweet electric funk of Kudu
really helped her find a fresh new groove – one that matched the freedoms she was finding with her vocals, but in a way that still let her keep that sharp edge that was always her trademark in soul! The blend of modes here is incredible – unlike anyone before or since – to a point where Esther might well have been the funky jazz generation's version of Billie Holiday. The music is wonderful, too – with arrangements from top-shelf jazz and funk musicians who include Pee Wee Ellis, Joe Beck, David Matthews, and Don Sebesky – all of whom use instrumentation from other hip players working for CTI at the time. This huge collection brings together loads of the best album cuts, key singles, a few special live numbers, and other gems from these years – 33 tracks that include "Scarred Knees", "Baby I'm For Real", "From A Whisper To A Scream", "Cherry Red", "Alone Again Naturally", "I've Never Found A Man", "Let Me In Your Life", "Home Is Where The Hatred Is", "Black Eyed Blues", "Justified", "Too Many Roads", "Can't Trust Your Neighbor With Your Baby", "You Could Have Had Me Baby", "Disposable Society", "Fever", "Turn Around Look At Me", "Magic's In The Air", "Boy I Really Tied One On", "All the Way Down", "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do", and "You're Coming Home".