Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles

The Complete Atlantic Sides Plus

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These 40 tracks make up the Bluebelles' complete released Atlantic recordings, as well as a small portion of previously released material. The content, presented in the order it was recorded, 1965-1969, includes all the singles, as well as the albums Over the Rainbow and Dreamer. (Two songs the group recorded, but didn't release, remain unfound.) Hopes for this group were high. As told in the liner notes, Atlantic's Jerry Wexler believed that "All or Nothing," their 1965 debut single, would be a Top Ten hit. It slid backward once it reached only number 68 on Billboard's pop chart, and only one other Bluebelles single for the label managed to register. That said, the group deserved better, and Bluebelles fans have gone underserved; even if this were merely a straight-up reissue of Dreamer, a great album released in 1967, its existence would be justified. The sound quality isn't always ideal; for instance, there's a little static during the Nona Hendryx showcase "That's How Heartaches Are Made," and there are obvious flaws at the 22- and 25-second marks of "All or Nothing." Even so, this is a long overdue anthology, assembled with love by David Nathan, who also provides typically detailed and anecdote-filled liner notes.

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