Carla Thomas

Love Means Carla Thomas

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Thomas had gone in a Memphis-meets-Motown direction on her previous album (Memphis Queen), and Love Means continued in that vein, with much more pop-conscious production (mostly courtesy of her keyboardist brother Marvell) and material that sometimes recalled Diana Ross. Thomas herself has noted that "we wanted a good listening album to send to [people like] Johnny Carson." While these sound like bad omens, in the event it's a pretty good pop-soul LP, coming off like Diana Ross with more grit. There weren't any obvious singles, which helped accelerate her commercial downfall at Stax, though one of the worst tracks -- "You've Got a Cushion to Fall On," a dated stand-by-your-man piece -- was a small hit. In 1997, this was reissued on a single-disc CD that also included her 1969 album Memphis Queen.

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