Skip Scarborough

The Skip Scarborough Songbook

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The Expansion label's Ralph Tee admits that The Skip Scarborough Songbook is not a definitive anthology, but such a thing would be impossible within the space of one disc. What's missing? Hits like the Friends of Distinction's "Love Me or Let Me Be Lonely" and Bill Withers' "Lovely Day," along with deep treasures like Bobbi Humphrey's "The Trip" and Harvey Mason's "Pack Up Your Bags," for starters. George Benson's version of "Love Ballad" (a number three R&B hit in 1979) could just as easily be here instead of L.T.D.'s original (a 1976 R&B chart-topper), and as far as "Can't Hide Love" is concerned -- represented here by Dionne Warwick's version -- take your pick between Creative Source, Carmen McRae, Earth, Wind & Fire, and even Jaye P. Morgan (among others). No matter what, the disc is a fine and overdue showcase for Scarborough, who thrived during the mid-'70s through the early '80s with a series of soaring and positive love songs, some of which -- like Earth, Wind & Fire's self-named song -- were imbued with spirituality. He even granted heartache queen Phyllis Hyman one of her few happy moments with the bursting "Living Inside Your Love." Mother's Finest's "Love Changes," Patti LaBelle's "It's Alright with Me," Maxi Anderson's "Lover to Lover," and Wilbert Longmire's overlooked version of "Love's Holiday" (originally recorded by EW&F) are among the other selections that all fans of smooth soul should possess.

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