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VINE VOICEon 20 August 2009
There was so much more to Freda Payne than just the magnificent dance-floor filler, Band Of Gold, & this CD set shows that brilliantly. Two discs of pure class, everything she recorded for the Invictus label, formed by the legends of Motown, Holland-Dozier-Holland. This is Sophisticated Soul: Freda's strong,sensuous, sexy vocals wrapped in lush, swirling orchestration &, often, driven by pounding Motown-esque beats. As well as disco greats like Rock Me In The Cradle(Of Your Lovin' Arms), Deeper And Deeper, &, of course, Band Of Gold, we are treated to exquisite versions of surprising covers of well known quality songs such as If You go Away & Rainy Days And Mondays. This music has not dated. It is as fresh & relevant as it was all those years ago. If all you know of Freda Payne is Band Of Gold, & you like that, then treat yourself to this treasure chest of tremendous will not be disappointed.
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on 29 July 2009
A great Album from Freda sounding as good as Diana Ross or even better on some tunes. Nearly an exact copy of Unhooked Generation (the complete invictus recordings)by Freda Payne CMDDD 341-2001. The missing song is, You Brought The Joy (US Single Version). So go and buy this it's great value.
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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2009
Think Freda Payne and you think of 'Band Of Gold', her biggest international hit. That is the only record of hers you are ever likely to hear on British radio, but as with so many R&B acts who had one huge breakthrough hit, there is a lot more to her than that.

This two disc package contains all of her output on Invictus during her 1969-73 stay at the label. There is a 24 page booklet with beautiful photographs of the stunningly attractive Freda, and notes about her career.

Freda percieves herself more as a jazz singer, but it was here, with R&B/Pop that she found her biggest success. At 67, she still tours as a one woman tribute act to Ella Fitzgerald.

My favourite track here is 'The Easiest Way To Fall', a cautionary tale about putting too much faith in love and lovers. Yeah well, we've all done it! Listen to that drummming just before she sings. Was this the first time that James Brown's much copied riff from 'Funky Drummer' was used?
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With better luck, Freda Payne might have had a much longer period in the spotlight. As it is, most people only remember her for Band of gold. This compilation makes a serious attempt to show that there is much more to Freda's music than just that hit. I already knew that, having bought a single CD many years ago, which I reviewed in 2002. Actually, that compilation contained 24 of the 40 tracks to be found here, but at the price Amazon were offering it for, I decided this set was irresistible. It contains all the tracks from the three original albums that Freda recorded for Invictus, together with tracks that appeared on her Best of compilation but not on the other albums, plus alternative versions of Band of gold and Deeper and deeper. The liner notes say that this set contains everything that Freda recorded for Invictus, which may well be so (if one doesn't count the US single version of You brought me joy, released in Japan on Unhooked Generation: The Complete Invictus Recordings, which otherwise contains everything here but in a different running order), though it would mean that there are no previously unreleased tracks hiding in the vaults.

The first album, inevitably titled Band of gold, includes the minor R+B hit Unhooked generation, which was the single before the big one, as well as Deeper and deeper, the follow-up to the big one. Other great tracks include The world don't owe you a thing, Through the memory of my mind and Rock me in the cradle among others. In my earlier review, I wrote that there were no cover versions as far as I could tell, and that remains the case for those 24 tracks, but there are a few covers here, though not ones that I would have expected. On the Band of gold album, you'll find covers of Happy heart (recorded by Petula Clark and Andy Williams at around the same time, but a big hit for Andy after he sang it as a guest on Petula's TV show) and This girl is a woman now (Gary Puckett).

The second album, Contact, may well be a better album overall than Band of gold. Freda certainly thinks so and so does the writer of the liner notes, but I don`t think there`s a lot to choose between them. There is no blockbuster her, nor are there any covers, but there are plenty of excellent songs. The big American hit here was the anti-Vietnam song Bring the boys home, which wasn't included on early pressings of the album though it was released at around the same time. The other significant hit, released prior to the album or Bring the boys home, was Cherish what is dear to you. The third single was the minor hit, You brought the joy. That was effectively the end of Freda's hit-making career, as only minor hits followed thereafter.

The best of compilation took the best tracks from the first two albums, together with four previously unreleased but wonderful songs, plus He's in my life, which was dropped from the Contact album to make way for Bring the boys home. It was a great song in its own right and anybody who has an early pressing of Contact will find that it includes He`s in my life..

The last album here is perhaps the weakest of the three original albums, but it is definitely worth a listen. The only hit (if it can be called that) was Two wrongs don't make a right. Two more covers are included, both of them being songs that Freda wanted to record. They were Rainy days and Mondays (Carpenters) and If you go away (Rod McKuen's translation of Jacques Brel's Ne me quitte pas). I can see why some people, especially Freda's R+B fans, might not be impressed by Freda's recording of If you go away, but it's fine by me.

While Freda's time at Invictus was not always a happy one, she made some great music there. I understand that some of Freda's other music is also worth a listen, and maybe I will investigate that someday, but all her big hits came during her time with Invictus, and they are all here, together with much else besides.
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on 22 December 2012
Freda Payne was never a `one-trick pony' - there was far more to her than the dance classic "Band of Gold" and the breathy Diana Ross-style "Deeper and Deeper"- as good as these most certainly were. In this marvellous digitally remastered compilation featuring virtually her entire Invictus career she ia a torch singer on "Now is the time to say goodbye", a jazz slanted vocalist on "The road we didn't take" and the mistress of Northern Soul belters- all done with great aplomb. Her career must be re-evaluated in the future because she just does not get the critical acclaim she deserves. There is hardly a `filler' on this collection- but many hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. She is certainly one of the last great female soul singers and no representative soul collection of this idiom would be complete without this one. The concept tracks on side one are probably unique in soul music.
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on 7 March 2014
A good double album of Freda Payne. From a Band Of Gold, and extended mix of 12inch to Cherish What Is Dear To You, Deeper And Deeper extended mixes of these too, an album to listen when in the mood.
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on 10 December 2014
Speedy delvery.
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on 7 September 2015
very good
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on 11 September 2014
wife loved it
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on 23 June 2010
I was so glad to get this on c.d, it was great, and quick efficient service.
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