Wow, the write-ups are right. This is a total gem of a soul/disco record. Deep earthy vocals from Janice on top of soulful melodies - all original compositions and not a duff track on the record. This didn't achieve any commercial success when it was released in the mid 1970s - but I think now its true brilliance will be discovered by soul aficiandos everywhere.
The nineteen seventies was a golden age for Soul music, and below the established chart hits there was a wealth of lesser known artists who provided some fantastic contributions to this genre but were unlucky not to go on to greater acclaim. Janice Barnet was a former beauty queen and fronted her husband’s Band The Jammers, before Richard Prior and William Guest (of Gladys Knight and the Pips) appreciated her similarities to the great Gladys and steered her to legendary Motown producer Harvey Fuqua. The result was this brilliant 1975 collection largely written by Janice Barnett and Husband Reggie Sadler. The heart tugging Goody Two shoes, and Take Me Away, Love on the line provide slow ballads of soulful anguish. ‘Him’ provides a mellow gospel /spiritual vibe with a sound not unlike the Stylistics. The stand out track for me is the up-tempo funky ‘If I’d Had Known’ (I’d Be Gone’) which like ‘I Told You So’, serves as a floor filler on the Northern/Rare Soul and Beach Music clubs. How this never made it to the charts I’ll never know. With catchy groove, and a Philly style combination of brass and strings with Janice making a powerful statement of regret and self-worth to a hand clapping conclusion. Oh bliss. The final and longest track ‘I Should Have Left You’ justifies some of the compressions with Gladys Knight and the Pips. It’s Portuguese ending may have point to a planned move towards a heavier Jazzy sound similar to that taken by the Temptations/O Jays around that time. Sadly Janice seemed eclipsed by the Disco phenomena; she went on to a successful career as a Gospel artist and a role in civil rights play Selma. The comprehensive sleeve notes by the late Tony Rounce give you more information about woman whose earthy brand of soul deserves a much wider audience. (Note the cover photo appears to have been adopted by Modern Australian Soultress Kylie Audlist. )