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This superb 2CD overview of US soul singer Laura Lee was released January 2010 in the UK (February 2010 in the USA) on Edsel EDSD 2050 (Barcode 740155205034) and is part of a series of reissues Edsel are doing to extensively cover Holland-Dozier-Holland's Invictus and Hot Wax labels. It features her 3 albums for H-D-H in their entirety, rare single sides as bonus tracks and much improved liner notes too. A lotta great womanly righteous Soul - and it breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 (71:29 minutes):
1. Women's Love Rights
2. Wedlock Is A Padlock
3. I Don't Want Nothing Old (But Money)
4. (Don't Be Sorry) Be Careful If You Can't Be Good
5. Love And Liberty
6. It's Not What You Fall For, It's What You Stand For
7. Since I Fell For You (Parts 1 & 2)
8. Two Lovely Pillows
9. That's How Strong My Love Is
10. Her Picture Matches Mine
Tracks 1 to 10 are her entire album 1st album "Women's Love Rights", released November 1971 in the USA on Hot Wax HA 708

11. I Can't Make It Alone
12. Don't Leave Me Starving For Your Love
13. We've Come Too Far To Walk Away
14. I Need It Just As Bad As You (Single And Album Version)
15. (If You Want To Try Love Again) Remember Me
16. Mirror Of Your Soul
Tracks 11 to 16 are 6 of the 8 tracks from her 3rd album "I Can't Make It Alone", released 1974 in the USA on Invictus KZ 33133 (see Note below)

Track 17 is "Since I Fell For You", Mono Promo-Only Single Edit, 1974 on Hot Wax (no catalogue number)
Track 18 is "I Need It Just As Bad As You (Unedited Version)" originally released on the 2CD compilation "Love's Rights And Wrongs - The Best Of Laura Lee" released 1997 in the UK on Sequel/Deep Beats CD DEEPD 025

Disc 2 (55:07 minutes):
1. At Last
2. Crumbs Off The Table (Album Version)
3. Every Little Bit Hurts
4. Guess Who I Saw Today
5. If You Can Beat Me Rockin' (You Can Have My Chair)
6. Workin' And Lovin' Together
7. Rip Off
8. When A Man Loves A Woman
9. If I'm Good Enough To Love (I'm Good Enough To Marry)
10. You've Got To Save Me
Tracks 1 to 10 are her entire 2nd album for the label "Two Sides Of Laura Lee", released 1972 on Hot Wax HA 714

Track 11 is "Crumbs Off The Table", USA 7" Single Re-Edit on Hot Wax HS 7210
Tracks 12 and 13 are the A&B sides of a 1973 USA 7" single on Hot Wax HS 7305 (both tracks are non-album)
Track 14 is "Since I Fell For You" (Mono Commercial Single Edit)

Note: Two tracks were duplicated on her 2nd and 3rd albums - they are "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "Crumbs Off The Table". Edsel have put them on Disc 2 in their proper sequence for the "Two Sides Of Laura Lee" album, however, if you want to sequence the 8 tracks of her 3rd album "I Can't Make It Alone" in proper order, then it runs as follows...
Side 1 is tracks 11 to 13 on Disc 1 + Track 3 on Disc 2
Side 2 is track 2 from Disc 2 + tracks 14 to 16 from Disc 1

Using the album cuts and the six bonus tracks across the 2CDs, you can now also sequence her entire US Hot Wax 7" singles output as follows...

1. "Wedlock Is A Padlock" b/w Her Picture Matches Mine", Hot Wax HS 7007, January 1971
2. "Women's Love Rights" b/w "Wedlock Is A Padlock", Hot Wax HS 7105, August 1971
3. "Love And Liberty" b/w "I Don't Want Nothing Old (But Money)", Hot Wax HS 7111, December 1971
4. "Since I Feel For You" b/w "I Don't Want Nothing Old (But Money)", Hot Wax HS 7201, February 1972
5. "Rip Off" b/w "Two Lovely Pillows", Hot Wax HS 7204, June 1972
6. "If You Can Beat Me Rockin' (You Can Have My Chair)" b/w "If I'm Good Enough To Love (I'm Good Enough To Marry)", Hot Wax HS 7207, October 1972
7. "Crumbs Off The Table" b/w "You've Got To Save Me", Hot Wax HS 7210, January 1973 [Note: A was originally a hit for The Glass House (another HDH act) in September 1969 on Invictus IS 9071]
8. "(If You Want To Try Love Again) Remember Me" b/w "If I'm Good Enough To Love (I'm Good Enough To Marry)", Hot Wax HS 7302, 1973
9. "I'll Catch You When You Fall" b/w "I Can't Hold Out Much Longer", Hot Wax HS 7305, 1973 [Note: both A&B are non-album tracks]

Remastered by PETER RYNSTON at TALL ORDER, the sound quality is great - alive and jumping out of your speakers. The 20-page booklet has very detailed liner notes by soul expert TONY ROUNCE who also provides photos of those rare 7" singles and LP labels - it's brilliantly informative and researched with both affection and care (his top class work features on most of Edsel's soul releases).

The music is upbeat floor-filling soul with a message of breaking free, standing up for yourself and street smarts. Track after track is great stuff. One of my all time favourites and a criminally forgotten gem is her declaration to other women about her loving prowess in the brilliantly funky single "If You Can Beat Me Rockin' (You Can Have My Chair)" - expect to see it in a movie any day now.

At less than six pounds on-line - this 2CD set is a whole lot of great Seventies soul for not a whole lot of wedge (even as an import in other countries). Check it out and enjoy...
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on 19 May 2013
Much as I love Laura Lee's voice, I do not feel that these albums gave her the best material to work with, being rather formulaic and of their time. I much prefer her output on Chess. These albums, however, are great value for money with invariably excellent vocal performances.
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