Stephanie Mills

Gold

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When you've released over a dozen charting albums and have had those albums whittled into nearly as many single-disc anthologies, the necessity for a more thorough double-disc anthology is obvious. Stephanie Mills' Gold is wholly necessary: nearly all of its 30 tracks were significant chart hits, so it covers a lot of ground that casual fans will be happy to have. From a creative standpoint, the years Mills spent working with James Mtume and Reggie Lucas were the most productive; this material takes up most of the first disc, including "Whatcha Gonna Do with My Lovin'" (classy soul-rooted disco that would've been at home on Philadelphia International or Salsoul), "Put Your Body in It" (funk-rooted disco with a synth bassline as gluey as "More Bounce to the Ounce" or "Flashlight"), and "Two Hearts" (a sweet midtempo duet with Teddy Pendergrass). The second disc locks into place with Mills' most commercially successful material -- ballads like "I Feel Good All Over," "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love," and "Home" put her on top of the R&B chart, while the relatively groove-oriented "Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)" and "(You're Puttin') A Rush on Me" had the same exact power. The Ultimate Collection, released by Hip-O in 1999, is representative and fine as an introduction, but it isn't as justifiably in-depth as this.

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