Gloria Lynne's sole effort for the Canyon imprint vaults the singer out of the jazz comfort zone she occupied in previous releases in favor of a lush, vibrant soul context well-matched to her gritty vocals. While arranger Art Freeman's sweet strings and buoyant horns draw obvious inspiration from southern soul signatures like Stax and Hi, Lynne's potent performances reach deep inside to channel the spirit of the blues. Its sunny title to the contrary, much of Happy and in Love traffics in melancholy and heartbreak, although the uncommon sensitivity of songs like "I'll Take You All the Way There" summons hope and comfort even from despair and desperation. Credit is also due the sinuous grooves of a superior session band led by drummer Paul Humphrey, but make no mistake -- this is Lynne's show, and her impassioned performance churns with raw human emotion.
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