Norman Connors

The Encore Collection

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BMG Special Products' issue of The Encore Collection is a decent but far from definitive budget-priced collection that contains Norman Connors' most popular hits and best-known tunes, but it leaves off plenty. There are no tracks from his first four albums, Dance of Magic, Dark of Light, Love from the Sun, or Slewfoot. The first two were originally released by Cobblestone, but picked up by Buddah and reissued. The last pair were his first proper Buddha releases -- all four of these albums are regarded as classics. Yes, all of his pop hits and biggest R&B singles are here -- "Valentine Love," "We Both Need Each Other," "You Are My Starship, " "Betcha by Golly, Wow, " "Once I've Been There," and "This Is Your Life." For the casual fan who has heard the aforementioned singles sampled, this budget-priced set will probably suffice. But there is so much more that establishes him as important. From the very beginning, Connors sought to meld fusion, jazz, soul, and funk in an accessible and adventurous music; some of the most important artists from each of those genres participated on his records. His earlier recordings offer more than quaint but compelling experimentation; they all contain tracks every bit as killer and necessary as what is included here. Norman Connors still doesn't have a definitive collection of his work available in the United States.

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