on 19 January 2011
The 3rd & 4th of Esther's Mercury recordings on one Cd.
HERES ESTHER ARE YOU READY?; This is my favourite Esther Phillips Album.
Super unique Esther versions of Natalie Cole's Mr Melody, Elton John's Philadelphia Freedom, her version of 'Our day will come' is excellent and was released as a single, but alas no hit.
GOOD BLACK IS HARD TO CRACK; This was Esther's final Mercury album. Once again - the material is first class. A combination of good pop, soul, disco etc.
There was one more album made after this one, in 1984, called 'A way to say goodbye' which as yet has not been released on Cd ...but IS available as a different title from Amazon ...called 'FA FA (SAD SONG)... also worth having. Why this superb artiste did not get the recognition she deserved will always be a mystery to me.
It's pretty obvious that Harvey Mason was given the production role for "Here's Esther are you ready?" because Mercury thought that he was capable of producing another hit in the mold of "What a diff'rence a day makes" for her third album for the label.In doing so, he largely ignored the style of soulful singing that marked her out from other divas, and concentrated on more upbeat disco material, that in some ways didn't really suit her style. "I'll close my eyes" is classic Esther material (it had been recorded by Dinah Washington) whilst the bittersweet "I hope you'll be very unhappy without me" also stands up. Otherwise the material is clearly aimed at the feet, not the heart- some works quite well, but the take on Ruby and the Romantics "Our day will come" seems contrived. The album has a patchy, transitonal feel.To compensate, "Good black is hard to find" redresses the balance- with Benny Golson brought in to produce.He clearly had an understanding of both her personal problems and her potential, drawing down a wide spectrum of material from the Jackson 5's "We got a good thing going" to excellent versions of "Crazy" and Mable John's " City Lights".In fact it's a really strong set, helped by the luminary sidesmen that Golson brought in like trumpeter Snooky Young. This is a really strong album, unfortunately delivered late to the label, which subsequently dropped her. This is another excellent pairing from SoulMusic and is highly recommended- even with reservations about her 'disco' tracks!
on 17 July 2011
I remember one time Aretha (when she and Esther were at Atlantic) won some award, and said I don't deserve this - give it to Esther. Esther floors me completely she did Disco better than anyone - still sounds so fresh. But jazz, country all within her stride. Most under estimated singer ever. Buy anything with her name on it - she never recorded one single bummer. RIP beautiful.