While R&B singer & former Broadway star Stephanie Mills will always be remembered for her MCA recordings of the late 1980s ( "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love", "I Feel Good All Over", "(You're Puttin') A Rush on Me", & "Home" to name but a few), it was her late 1970s-early 1980s recordings that helped turned her into an R&B legend.
This 2-disc set has most of the recordings Mills did during her time with 20th Century-Fox Records (yes, the famed movie studio once had a record label. That was until 1981, when it was bought by oil magnate Marvin Davis, who having no interest in its music division sold it off to Polygram the following year). All 3 albums were produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, who previously was with Miles Davis & would later form Mtume of "Juicy Fruit" fame.
The 1st disc has her 1st 2 LPs "What Cha' Gonna Do with My Lovin' & "Sweet Sensation" in their entirety. The former, in my view is the best of her 20th Century-Fox albums, has the already well known songs like the title track & "Put Your Body in It." (my mom owned the 12'' single which had those two songs on it. The extended versions of both are also available in this collection), but I was surprised how great the other songs are like the post-disco "You Can Get Over", "Starlight", "You & I" (a great wedding song in my view.), a cover of "Feel the Fire" (which nearly blows away Peabo Bryson's version) & "Don't Stop Dancin.' The latter album is also pretty good. While I'm previously aware of the title track & the Grammy winning "Never Knew Love Like This Before", I also enjoy the other songs from that album- all but one I really loved. The final track on Disc 1 "Better Than Ever" is a single-only release from the 1979 movie "Starting All Over." It's a great way to close out the 1st disc.
The 2nd disc has two parts. The 1st of which is Mills' 3rd & final LP for 20th Century-Fox Records "Stephanie." While I found it to be the weakest of her 3 albums, it's still not bad. The duet song with Teddy Pendergrass (may God bless his soul) is the biggest highlight from this album. The final half of the disc are the 12'' versions of 5 of her best known singles of this time period. Their presence help round out this collection. By the way, Hip-O Select has omitted the 7'' (radio edited) singles save "Better Than Ever" from this collection, which I don't think no one will complain.
Sound wise, the 2 discs are greatly remastered. Also, the liner notes include the original artwork from Mills' three albums & a great essay from soul music historian David Nathan, who in fact were in the studio when Mills were recording these albums. As all 3 of the albums here are currently out of print in North America ("What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin" & "Sweet Sensation" are available as standalone releases albeit imports from Europe.), this is the way to go if you're a Stephanie Mills fan or of 1970s R&B/soul music. It'll be interesting to see if Hip-O Select also do this with the albums she did with Casablanca Records (after the sale to Polygram, Mills was transferred to that label, where she did another 3 albums before going to MCA.)