Best of Esther Phillips (1962-1970)

The Best of Esther Phillips (1962-1970)

by Esther Phillips

Although former child R&B star Esther Phillips really hit her mature peak in the '60s, commercially she had a hard time finding a niche. "Release Me," her uptown R&B version of a country song, made the pop Top Ten in 1962. But she only dented the charts occasionally over the course of the next decade, despite recording frequently in a number of styles, usually (but…  See more details below


Although former child R&B star Esther Phillips really hit her mature peak in the '60s, commercially she had a hard time finding a niche. "Release Me," her uptown R&B version of a country song, made the pop Top Ten in 1962. But she only dented the charts occasionally over the course of the next decade, despite recording frequently in a number of styles, usually (but not always) for Atlantic. This two-CD, 40-song set is an excellent distillation of work that isn't well known even by R&B devotees, drawing from about half a dozen albums and numerous singles, mostly from Atlantic, but also including 45s she made for Roulette in 1969; about half of the songs on this collection, in fact, were never issued on an album. Phillips was to a degree damned by her versatility: too suave and refined to be classified as a straight soul singer, she takes on jazz, pop, show tunes, blues, the Beatles (her gender-morphed "And I Love Him" was a substantial hit), the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and more. Like Etta James, the Columbia-era Aretha Franklin, and Nina Simone, she was one of those singers who fell between genre cracks: not quite soul, rock, R&B, jazz, pop, or blues, though elements of all those styles were present in her work. Actually, she wasn't quite as good as any of those above-mentioned legends, with a nasal, edgy style that won't be to everyone's taste, somewhat reminiscent (though not as impressive as) Nina Simone's. The smooth arrangements mine the wide territory between Dinah Washington and Dionne Warwick, though again, she wasn't as well-equipped for success with such an approach as those two were. All these caveats aside, if you enjoy the work of any of the reference points listed above, you'll most likely like Esther Phillips' work on these recordings as well; she's just not quite in the same Hall of Fame class.

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Product Details

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Disc 1

  1. Release Me
  2. Am I That Easy to Forget?
  3. I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know About Him
  4. No Headstone on My Grave
  5. Hello Walls
  6. Mojo Hannah
  7. I Saw Me
  8. Double Crossing Blues
  9. It's Too Soon to Know
  10. Out of the Blue
  11. Makin' Whoopee
  12. Shangri-La
  13. 'tis Autumn
  14. Moonglow/Theme from "Picnic"
  15. And I Love Him
  16. Some Things You Never Get Used To
  17. Let Me Know When It's Over
  18. I Could Have Told You So
  19. The Party's Over
  20. As Tears Go By
  21. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
  22. Crazy He Calls Me

Disc 2

  1. When a Woman Loves a Man
  2. Try Me
  3. When Love Comes to the Human Race
  4. I'm Sorry
  5. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  6. Cry Me a River Blues
  7. I'm Getting 'long Alright
  8. It Could Happen to You
  9. Set Me Free
  10. Brand New Day
  11. Crazy Love
  12. All God Has Is Us
  13. Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry
  14. I'm in the Mood for Love (Moody's Mood for Love)
  15. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You
  16. Sweet Dreams
  17. Nobody But You
  18. Too Much of a Man (To Be Tied Down)

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Esther Phillips   Primary Artist
Jerry Lewis   Electric Bass
Phil Bodner   Bass Clarinet
Gary Burton   Vibes
Jimmy Cleveland   Trombone
King Curtis   Tenor Saxophone
Richard Davis   Bass
Urbie Green   Trombone
Thad Jones   Trumpet
Hubert Laws   Flute
Mel Lewis   Drums
Mundell Lowe   Guitar
Dave McKenna   Piano
Joe Newman   Trumpet
Jerome Richardson   Clarinet,Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Jack Wilson   Piano,Electric Piano
Dud Bascomb   Trumpet
Bobby Donaldson   Drums
Tyree Glenn   Vibes
Ike Isaacs   Acoustic Bass
Buddy Morrow   Trombone
Seldon Powell   Tenor Saxophone
Chuck Rainey   Bass Guitar
Ernie Royal   Trumpet
Grady Tate   Drums
Brown   Viola
Gary Chester   Drums
Bobby Gregg   Drums
Jimmy Ricks   Track Performer
Dee Dee Warwick   Vocals
Robert Maxwell   Harp
Jimmy Wisner   Conductor
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Bob Cranshaw   Bass
George Duvivier   Bass
Harry Allen   Violin
Wayne Andre   Trombone
Anita Kerr Singers   Background Vocals
Don Arnone   Guitar
Robert Ashton   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Donald Bailey   Drums
Danny Banks   Baritone Saxophone
Everett Barksdale   Guitar,Mandolin
William Berry   Flugelhorn
Arthur Bogin   Violin
Estelle Brown   Vocals
Billy Byers   Trombone
Bob Bushnell   Electric Guitar
Don Butterfield   Tuba
Gene Chrisman   Drums
Cissy Houston   Vocals
Tommy Cogbill   Conductor
Sammy Creason   Drums
DeRisi   Trumpet
Charles DeAngelis   Tenor Saxophone
Cornell Dupree   Guitar
George Devens   Vibes
James Luther Dickinson   Keyboards
Bernard Eichen   Violin
Arnold Eidus   Violin
Ray Ellis   Conductor
Bobby Emmons   Organ
Norman Forrest   Viola
Charlie Freeman   Guitar
Ernie Freeman   Conductor
Barry Galbraith   Guitar
Eric Gale   Guitar
Joe Gentle   Flute
Leroy Glover   Organ,Conductor
Bernie Glow   Trumpet
Gorgoni   Electric Bass
Emanuel Green   Violin
Paul Griffin   Organ,Piano
Sol Gubin   Drums
Ernie Hayes   Organ,Piano
Haywood Henry   Baritone Saxophone
Milt Hinton   Bass
Howard Roberts   Background Vocals
J.J. Johnson   Trombone
Phil Kraus   Percussion
Mike Leech   Bass
Herb Lovelle   Drums
Ray Lucas   Drums
Carl Lynch   Guitar
Charles Macey   Guitar,Mandolin
Charles Magruder   Background Vocals
June Magruder   Background Vocals
Joseph Malignaggi   Violin
Arif Mardin   Organ
Dave Markowitz   Viola
Tommy McClure   Bass
Jimmy Nottingham   Trumpet
Spooner Oldham   Piano
Gene Orloff   Violin
Tony Orlando   Background Vocals
Romeo Penque   Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Max Pollikoff   Violin
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie   Drums
Dom Um Romão   Percussion
George Ricci   Cello
Margaret Ross   Harp
Art Ryerson   Mandolin
Russ Saunders   Electric Bass
Schackman   Guitar
Harry Shapiro   Cello
Sylvia Shemwell   Vocals
Tony Studd   Trombone
Richard Tee   Organ
Joe Tekula   Cello
Brooks Tillotson   French Horn
James Tyrell   Electric Bass
Mike Utley   Keyboards
Bart Varsalona   Trombone
Kai Winding   Trombone
Phil Woods   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Snooky Young   Trumpet
Reggie Young   Guitar
Billy Butler   Guitar
Julie Held   Violin
Frank Bruno   Bass
Moe Weschler   Piano
Harry Azen   Viola
Peter Makas   Cello
Sol Shapiro   Violin
Artie Kaplan   Flute,Saxophone
Cliff Parman   Conductor
Lamar Wright   Trumpet
Chernet   Mandolin
James Maxwell   Trumpet
Bill Suymer   Guitar
Glenn Jackson   Trombone
Ann Phillips   Background Vocals
Calman Fleisig   Viola
Noah Hopkins   Background Vocals
Albert Richmond   French Horn
Warren Smith   Percussion

Technical Credits

Steve Allen   Composer
King Curtis   Arranger,Producer
Oliver Nelson   Arranger
Esther Phillips   Arranger
Irving Mills   Composer
Bill Justis   Arranger
Jimmy Wisner   Arranger
Dan Penn   Producer
Bert Berns   Producer
Tommy Cogbill   Arranger
Eddie DeLange   Composer
Tom Dowd   Producer
Ray Ellis   Arranger
Leroy Glover   Arranger
Willie Henderson   Producer
Will Hudson   Composer
Bill Inglot   Producer
Mike Leech   rhythm arrangement
Arif Mardin   Arranger
Chips Moman   Producer
Lelan Rogers   Producer
Garry Sherman   Arranger,Director
Tom Washington   Arranger
Bergen White   Arranger
David Nathan   Liner Notes
Dave Crawford   Producer
George Duning   Composer
Cliff Parman   Arranger
Melissa Totten   Contributor,Editorial Research
Tony Randazzo   Arranger,Producer
Charles Singleton   Composer

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