Esther Phillips

Baby, I'm for Real! 4 Classic Albums 1971-1974

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Raven's 2014 double-disc set rounds up the four albums Esther Phillips recorded in the early '70s: 1972's From a Whisper to a Scream, 1972's Alone Again, Naturally, 1973's Black-Eyed Blues, and 1974's Performance; additionally, there are three bonus tracks taken from other CD reissues over the years. Phillips had been recording for years -- she had hits in 1950, then had a run of records on Atlantic in the '60s, highlighted by 1962's "Release Me" -- but these four albums can easily be seen as her mature work, achieving a nice blend of deep Southern soul grit, uptown sophistication, and Hollywood panache.

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