Two of Helen Reddy's 1974 albums, Love Song for Jeffrey and Free and Easy, are combined onto one CD on this release, with the addition of historical liner notes and a couple of tracks from her 1978 album Live in London. Reddy was near the peak of her popularity in 1974, but although each album has a couple of hit singles, they're erratic works in which the singer flits uncomfortably between rock-influenced styles and more middle-of-the-road vocals. Love Song for Jeffrey yielded hit singles in "Keep on Singing" and "You and Me Against the World," filled out with covers of songs by writers such as Billy Joel, Jim Croce, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil, and tunes on which Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager worked with collaborators. There's a dated '70s stridency to the more forceful cuts, like "That Old American Dream" and "Keep on Singing," while the ballads tread on soppiness, suggesting Reddy might have been more at home as a supper club singer. Free and Easy was powered in main by her number one American hit "Angie Baby," and is slightly tougher in overall tone, though the material is pretty average mid-'70s adult-oriented pop. Her fondness for ballads remained unabated with the inclusion of items like Don McLean's "You Have Lived," while "Emotion" gave her another US hit, albeit one that fell just outside the Top 20. Whatever their mediocrity, both records were pretty successful, Love Song for Jeffrey almost making the Top Ten and Free and Easy rising to number eight.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
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