In the 1970s, countless budget LPs focused on Gladys Knight & the Pips' pre-Motown output of the early '60s. But few of them were as comprehensive as Reflections of a Legend, a two-LP set that came out in 1976. Containing 30 songs that the group recorded for such labels as Fury, Maxx, and Vee-Jay, Reflections doesn't limit itself to Knight's most essential pre-Motown work. Some of the material is indispensable, including "Queen of Tears," "Lovers Always Forgive," and "Operator." Equally essential are the original versions of "Every Beat of My Heart" (the Johnny Otis gem that soared to the top of the charts in 1961 and became Knight's first major hit), "Letter Full of Tears," and "Giving Up," all of which Knight revisited at Motown. Meanwhile, many of the tracks, although enjoyable, fall short of essential -- and for that reason, Reflections isn't recommended to casual listeners. But then, Reflections wasn't assembled with casual listeners in mind. This double-LP is for serious R&B collectors, and they are the ones who will find less essential tracks like "Why Don't You Love Me," "Come See About Me" (not to be confused with the Supremes' hit) and "I Want That Kind of Love" interesting. As comprehensive as Reflections is, it doesn't contain everything that Knight and/or the Pips recorded before their arrival at Motown in 1966. Reflections doesn't include many of the tunes that the Pips recorded without Knight when she went on maternity leave, although it does contain their sentimental ballad "Darling." But even if Reflections doesn't contain every single rarity that the group recorded before 1966, it's still among the more comprehensive collections of Gladys Knight & the Pips' pre-Motown work.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson