3 albums, some "best of" tracks, and bonus cuts too – a massive collection of music from this hip 70s soul singer! First up is Band Of Gold – a landmark album from Freda Payne! Freda had been knocking around a bit as a more jazz-oriented singer, and had cut one album for Impulse and one for MGM
before this one – but when she hooked up with the hitmaking Holland-Dozier-Holland team for this record, her career really went over the top! The team take Payne's deep soulful voice away from the sophisticated pop of earlier years, and hook it up with a mix of fuzzy Detroit soul and sweeter southern styles. The album includes loads of great cuts – most notably the sublime crossover hit "Band of Gold", but also plenty of other lesser-known gems, like "The Easiest Way to Fall", "Unhooked Generation", "Deeper and Deeper", and "This Girl Is a Woman Now". Contact is Freda Payne's second album as a soul singer – cut for Holland-Dozier-Holland, and a lot like the first, save for the fact that it wasn't nearly as bit a hit. Freda's still great vocally, though – upping the soul ante with some sophisticated vocals that sit fine by us, and which show her roots as a jazz singer. Titles include "I'm Not Getting Any Better", "The Road We Didn't Take", "Odds & Ends", 'I Shall Not Be Moved", "Mama's Gone", and "You've Got To Love Somebody (Let It Be Me)". Reaching Out was done a few years after Freda's big hit "Band of Gold", and she's recording here in a very different mode! The record is produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, with arrangements by a number of different talents, like McKinley Jackson, Tony Camillo, and Michael Smith – and the overall sound is much more sophisticated than on some of Freda's earlier work. The vocals are especially sharp – quite mature, and almost in a mode that points towards later work by singers like Jean Carn or Marlena Shaw during the late 70s. Includes the nice midtempo groover "We've Gotta Find A Way Back To Love", worth the price of the album alone – plus "Mood For Love", "Reaching Out", "Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right", "Mother Misery's Favorite Child", and "Right Back Where I Started From". CD also features Best Of Freda Payne tracks – "He's In My Life", "How Can I Live Without My Life", "Just A Woman", "Come Back", and "You're The Only Bargain I've Got" – plus bonus tracks "Band Of Gold (unedited alt version)" and "Deeper & Deeper (US single mix)".