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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Me And Mrs. Jones...Got A Thing Going On..."
As a voracious collector of old-skool Soul and Funk (and reviewer of the same) - I've been singing the praises of England's BIG BREAK RECORDS for some time now. I recently reviewed their beautifully remastered reissue of Bill Wither's 1971 debut LP "Just As I Am" with "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Grandma's Hands" on it - and I thought it couldn't get any better. Well blow me...
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by Mark Barry

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3.0 out of 5 stars Billy Paul is a master as we all know !
shame this CD was wasted with 3 tracks of the same songs , 3x Me and Mrs Jones , and 2x of am I black enough for you? so all you get is 8 original songs of classic songs , and wasted track's of the same songs , the booklet is good, beware the CD will not load any titles of songs or artist comes up unknown CD , but the songs quality is excellent. still worth the buy,
Published 8 months ago by david hayward


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Me And Mrs. Jones...Got A Thing Going On...", 28 Aug 2012
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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As a voracious collector of old-skool Soul and Funk (and reviewer of the same) - I've been singing the praises of England's BIG BREAK RECORDS for some time now. I recently reviewed their beautifully remastered reissue of Bill Wither's 1971 debut LP "Just As I Am" with "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Grandma's Hands" on it - and I thought it couldn't get any better. Well blow me down with a front-cover triple-image of a porkpie hat - but they've done it again...

The vinyl LP of "360 Degrees Of Billy Paul" was originally released in November 1972 in the USA on Philadelphia International KZ 31793 and Epic Records EPC 65351 in the UK (later re-issued on Philadelphia International S PIR 65930). This August 2012 UK CD reissue (September 2012 in the USA) on Big Break Records CDBBR 0175 remasters that 8-track Number 1 album and adds on 3 bonus cuts - "Me And Mrs. Jones (Live)", "Am I Black Enough For You (Single Version)" and "Me And Mrs. Jones (Single Version)" (total playing time 60:49 minutes).

This will allow fans to sequence the following 7" singles that were issued around the LP:
1. Me And Mrs. Jones [11] b/w Your Song [7] - issued October 1972 in the USA on Philadelphia International ZS7 3521 and January 1973 in the UK on Epic EPC 1055
2. Am I Black Enough For You [10] b/w I'm Gonna Make It This Time [8] - issued March 1973 in the USA on Philadelphia International ZS7 3526 (no UK release)
3. Brown Baby b/w It's Too Late [3] - issued April 1973 in the UK on Epic Records S EPC 1313
[Note: the UK single of "Brown Baby" was a 3:19 minute edit (the album cut is 4:36 minutes) and unfortunately isn't included on here]

Remastered by NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering in London with additional work done by Big Break's own WAYNE A. DICKSON - the sound quality is GORGEOUS - full, warm and just a joy to listen too after years of bad budget compilations. The 12-page booklet features knowledgeable liner notes by ANDY KELLMAN with many contributions from Billy Paul himself - along with photos of those American and UK 45 singles - the album's artwork etc. It's a typically classy job by BBR...

The Music - written by the dynamic duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff "Me And Mrs. Jones" was a monster hit (lyrics above) and put Billy Paul on the number one spot in droves of countries around the world (including the single and album Soul charts in his own USA). But how nice it is to hear the FULL ALBUM VERSION at 4:46 minutes as opposed to the more commonly used 7" single edit of 3:41 minutes. And it sounds amazing too.

The on-the-money commentary of "Brown Baby" is a very strong socially aware opener but it's trumped by the magnificent 8-minutes of "I'm Just A Prisoner". Billy Paul's stepfather had done 5 years in prison but emerged to work his way up in business and then mentor the young hopeful in his musical ambitions. Paul never forgot this - so even though label stalwarts Kenneth Gamble, Bunny Sigler and Phillip Hurtt wrote the song - it contains some of Paul's most personal lyrics. The song feels like Marvin Gaye's "Right On" from his 1971 "What's Going On" masterpiece in its hypnotic groove and features brilliantly arranged strings by organist and orchestration maestro Lenny Pakula. There are touches of Donny Hathaway, Herbie Hancock and The Isley Brothers all in there too - and for me it's one of the highlights of this reissue...

There are three cleverly reworked cover versions - a jazzed-up take on Carole King's "It's Too Late" from her magisterial "Tapestry" album, a completely re-worked fast and funky go at Elton John's "Your Song" (which Elton loved) and a very slowed down love-song angle on Al Green's slinky classic "Let's Stay Together" with lovely Norman Harris arrangements. The album ends of what he admits should have been the follow up to "Jones" - "I'm Gonna Make It This Time" (written by Bunny Sigler and Jean Lang). It's as romantic-Philly as the label gets - all plinking piano, strings and heartache vocals. Even the live version of "Me And Mrs. Jones" which is clearly in front of a British audience is excellent and I can see why it was included.

To sum up - great stuff - and such an enjoyable rediscovery. Recommended like a 6:30 meeting with Mrs. Jones in the Lurve Café - you naughty boy...

PS: As of January 2014 - Big Break Records are approching an impressive 220+ CD reissues and all of the ones I've acquired so far are top quality.
Here are the ones I've bought and reviewed:

1. Candles - HEATWAVE (1980) [see REVIEW]
2. Harvest For The World - THE ISLEY BROTHERS (1976) [see REVIEW]
3. Go For Your Guns - THE ISLEY BROTHERS (1977) [see REVIEW]
4. I Miss You - HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES (1972) [known as "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes" in the UK] [see REVIEW]
5. Black & Blue - HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES (1973) [see REVIEW]
6. Love Is The Message - MFSB (1974) [See REVIEW]
7. All The Faces Of... - BUDDY MILES (1974) [see REVIEW]
8. I Can See Clearly Now - JOHNNY NASH (1972) [see REVIEW]
9. In Philadelphia - O'JAYS (1969) [see REVIEW}
10. Back Stabbers - O'JAYS (1972) [see REVIEW]
11. Ship Ahoy - O'JAYS (1973) [see REVIEW]
12. Ebony Woman - BILLY PAUL (1970 and 1973) [See REVIEW]
13. 360 Degrees Of Billy Paul - BILLY PAUL (1972) [See REVIEW]
14. War Of The Gods - BILLY PAUL (1973) [See REVIEW]
15. Smoked Sugar - SMOKED SUGAR (1975) [see REVIEW]
16. Just As I Am - BILL WITHERS (1971) [debut LP on Sussex/A&M Records] - [see REVIEW]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 360 degrees of all round Brlliance, 3 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: 360 Degrees (Audio CD)
To say this album is brillint is an under statement.I first bought this album in 1976 when SOUL/R&B was still popular. I bought it on the strength of the track "ME AND MRS JONES". What a surprise. From beginning to end the soulful voice, and deep rhythmic music captures you in a trance like state, that you never want to come out of.
The lyrics are are breathtaking especially on "AM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU".
Although three of the tracks are covers he does them more than justice. The way he brings "YOUR SONG". To life with brass and lively rhythmns is astounding. And the way he draws feeling from the words of "IT'S TO LATE" has more emotion than a jilted teenager on heat. And as for "LET'S STAY TOGETHER", the Al Green classic he takes it and makes it completely his own
"I'M JUST A PRISONER". is the track that stands out head and shoulders above anything i have ever heard. it can take you to wherever you want in your own mind, unfortunately you have to return.
"BROWN BABY" although the weakest of them all it still ranks very high in the soul music genre.
Finally, "I'M GONNA MAKE IT THIS TIME" no words can express just how good this track is brillint, brilliant, brilliant.
As i stated at the beginning why i bought this album, can anyone out there say that they've never slow danced to it, well you're a liar or an emotionless automan, please yourself.
So take this album, sorry CD, home and enjoy a trip to deep soul town.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 360 degrees of billy paul, 12 Jan 2003
This review is from: 360 Degrees (Audio CD)
1972 was a very important year for Philadelphia International Records. One, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff(The Deans and Founders of the Philly Sound) signed the major distribution deal with CBS Records who Clive Davis was Presdident at the time. Two, this album by Billy Paul was one of the records that took them to another level. Me and Mrs Jones was in worldwide smash breaking the charts for weeks. MFSB and Bobby Eli make the record and what sets the Philly Sound apart from Motown, Stax, and the New Orleans music movement. The follow-up single "Am I Black Enough for You" didn't make the waves like "Me and Mrs. Jones", but this album is a must have if your an avid Sound Of Philly fan.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Billy Paul is a master as we all know !, 5 April 2014
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shame this CD was wasted with 3 tracks of the same songs , 3x Me and Mrs Jones , and 2x of am I black enough for you? so all you get is 8 original songs of classic songs , and wasted track's of the same songs , the booklet is good, beware the CD will not load any titles of songs or artist comes up unknown CD , but the songs quality is excellent. still worth the buy,
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4.0 out of 5 stars thats what it is 360D, 22 July 2013
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Will what can i say about this artis he is just fantastic me and Mrs Jonses we got a thing going on, wow.
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