Ann Sexton

You're Gonna Miss Me

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Just like her contemporary Ann Peebles, Ann Sexton may have been a little late for her own best. Singing conservative, yet funky, Southern soul in the '70s seems to have meant being overshadowed by disco, funk, and slick Philly soul, and she only released one album. Compared with Peebles, Sexton is far less known, one of her more successful songs making it to number 47 on the R&B charts. The present Charly compilation is probably her only available album, but it should include most of what she has released, making it one of few collections deserving the epithet "important." Unfortunately, there are some unnecessary flaws to it. The credit list is quite erroneous, and there is a strange omission in the tracks selection: Sexton's excellent version of "It's All Over But the Shouting" is left out, and even if there were more songs too choose from, such a choice would be a sin. That said, Ann Sexton is a both funky and emotional singer, as she proves in the intensive "You're Losing Me." This is also the only track written by her, which is a shame since it is one of the absolute gems of the album. On the whole, the album is a bit ballad-heavy, but that lets Sexton play out her full and rich emotional register. She shows almost painful tragic qualities in "I'm His Wife, You're Just a Friend," trying to convince her man's mistress that she doesn't stand a chance, and the contrasting and uncomplicated longing of "I Want to Be Loved" is simply beautiful. The album does contain some lightweight numbers, probably inevitable considering Sexton's limited catalog, but also a number of excellent dance tracks, like "You've Been Gone Too Long," which became a hit on the Northern soul scene in the '90s.

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