Stephanie Mills

The Ultimate Collection

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The Ultimate Collection Review

by Justin Kantor

From 1979 to 1993, Mills' glowing voice was a frequent resident on R&B airwaves. She delivered riveting funk-disco romps and soulful ballads with equal ease and conviction. Almost all of the highlights are found here, as well as several lesser-known earlier works. The tracks are arranged in chronological order, beginning with two songs from her obscure 1975 debut album, Movin' in the Right Direction, and ending with two Top Ten numbers from 1989's gold Home. In between is a diverse selection, ranging from the gospel-rooted "I Took My Strength from You" to the pop crossover hits "Never Knew Love Like this Before" and "What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin'" to the Prince cover "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" Notably missing are the 1981 duet with Teddy Pendergrass, "Two Hearts," and the 1982 hit "Last Night." But considering this 15-track compilation includes work from all five labels for which Mills recorded secular material, it pretty much lives up to its name. The Ultimate Collection is a riveting retrospective to Mills' R&B career, enhanced by David Nathan's compelling liner notes.

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