This two-fer assembles Chicago soul diva Barbara Acklin's first and finest LPs for the Brunswick label. Love Makes a Woman immediately establishes the supple, sophisticated sound that separated Acklin from her grittier Windy City rivals. The buoyant title cut would prove her biggest hit, but she also proves herself a skilled interpreter of the Bacharach/David catalog via soulful renditions of the syrupy "What the World Needs Now" and the sultry "The Look of Love." Also credit co-producers Eugene Record and Carl Davis for avoiding the studio overkill that plagues Acklin's later Brunswick dates. The loping grooves and sinuous rhythms never distract from the potency of her vocals. But despite the success of "Love Makes a Woman," Brunswick refused to do right by Acklin. With her remarkable "Am I the Same Girl" poised for chart triumph, the label stripped away her potent vocals, added a piano, and released the track as the Young-Holt Unlimited instrumental "Soulful Strut," which proved a massive hit in its own right. The original "Am I the Same Girl" is the centerpiece of Seven Days of Night, and while it remains a high-water mark of Chicago soul, much of the album maintains a similar level of excellence. Record's nuanced melodies and sublime arrangements (in particular the transcendent "Here Is a Heart") fit Acklin's soulful vocals like a glove. Edsel's 2004 release The Complete Barbara Acklin on Brunswick has since rendered this collection irrelevant. For a few dollars more, consumers can now acquire her entire Brunswick output, including her erratic but still engaging LPs from the early 1970s.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny