For years, I have searched for this - not because I'm a huge fan of Elton's, but while he has a huge catalogue of successful work, this is among the very best.
I feel very strongly that Thom Bell may have been one of the few people to have realised the potential of Elton in this musical genre. These recordings arrived on the back of many huge hits for the Detroit Spinners and other successful soul artists who'd earlier dominated the music scene with arrangements by Barry White and Gene Page. Punk had just arrived and everything was getting a little more edgy.
I remember 'Are You Ready For Love' first time around and was very puzzled as to why it had never become a huge hit, but justice was done many years later thanks to a Sky Sports TV promo putting a remixed version the song at number one in the UK. The original mix is here in its entirety.
But for me, the shining light of this session has always been 'Mama Can't Buy You Love' (unreleased in the UK) which I bought as a single while on holiday in Spain in 1980. To finally find a cd version of the complete session - despite the price - is a complete joy ... and I should add, worthy of the expense.
The rest of the tracks are relatively new to me, but have the same polish that only top quality American soul brings. This is a genuine collectors item and deserves a wider audience.