I understand that Irma herself is not a fan of this record, and I can sorta see why: Swamp Dogg (Jerry Williams) wrote most of the songs and produced it, and his ribald and unbridled approach to soul is a few steps off from Irma's increasingly regal style, which on subsequent records has put greater emphasis on more elegant, sophisticated sentiment and has featured a bit less sass (although Irma can sass it up when need be).
Still, I find that Swamp Dogg's snappiness actually nicely offsets Irma's quasi-cabaret inclinations, and her nuance and grace as performer and interpreter bring a depth and intensity to his songs that he himself can't always muster. It's a win-win -- just check out the absolutely majestic title track and the devastating "What's So Wrong With You Loving Me?" Fine stuff, and the production, which is tight but lets the rough side drag a little, is ideal -- and for this listener, much more appealing than Irma's more lauded (and MUCH slicker) Rounder disks of the '80s, '90s, and '00s.
A lost bit of '70s soul, and a real treasure to have in it's original form (although it should be mentioned that this entire album, plus some stray singles, are available via Ace Records on a comp called "A Woman's Viewpoint"). No matter how you find it, it's a stone classic.
That said, if you are enjoying the nicely pressed vinyl edition of this record (and other Swamp Dogg-related titles on Alive), you WILL like me be disappointed that the LP editions:
- Do not include the liner notes and photos featured in the CD versions.
- Do not include the bonus tracks on the CD editions.
- Do not provide a complimentary digital download of the music (this would have been the best way to distribute the bonus tracks to vinyl consumers).
- Are packaged in flimsy paperboard sleeves (a small complaint -- they can't all be Stoughton, I guess)
It's almost as though Alive is trying to punish people who purchase the more expensive format. Classy. I emailed them and asked if it would be possible to just get an electronic copy of the liner notes, and they replied and said that would be "very complicated." Yeah. Putting a low-res PDF--or just the text--on a secret page of your website is SO HARD. Docked a star for this needless oversight.
UPDATE: Alive Records is now including a flier with the liner notes from the CD editions when you order the LPs directly from them. It doesn't address every issue, but it is a nice gesture and is much appreciated.