Tina Charles

Greatest Hits

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Though her regular albums all have their inspired moments, there really is only one direction in which the aspiring Tina Charles fan really needs to go -- and this is it.  1978's Greatest Hits spans, across 13 tracks, most of Charles' U.K. and European hits, including the still precious "You Set My Heart on Fire," which was a Top Three hit in Sweden months before her own British public started buying the follow-up. That, of course, was "I Love to Love," which opens this collection with a still-dazzling flamboyance. No matter that producer Biddu's arrangement owed so much to Barry White and MFSB, nor that the record established a musical precedent that Charles was never to break away from. Still it is easy to see how effortlessly it swept the globe. Moving deeper into the collection, a handful of generally well-chosen album tracks pad out the hits -- "It's Time for a Change" was a welcome inclusion from Dance Little Lady, while "Sweets for My Sweet" was certainly the pick from Rendezvous. In fact, the only major criticism of the album is that, in its desire to portray Charles in a light that the average hits fan would find favorable, it leaves her looking even more one-dimensional than she actually was. She did love to love, of course. But she liked to do other things as well.

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