ALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY
One of the deepest soul sets from Esther Phillips' 70s years on Kudu Records -- a set with some nicely gritty grooves and a surprisingly earthy feel at times -- especially when compared to some of her other albums of the time! Backings are by James Brown's old reedman, Pee Wee Ellis -- and although there's some of the usual Kudu electric funk in the mix, there's also some deeper soul elements too -- a vibe that's often a bit laidback and open, almost more Atlantic Records at points -- which is a mighty good fit for Esther's wonderful voice! As usual for Kudu, the players are an all-star lineup -- one that includes Richard Tee on keyboards, George Benson on guitar, Maceo Parker on tenor, and Bernard Purdie and Billy Cobham on drums -- and Don Sebesky's also on deck a bit, to sweeten a few tracks up with light strings. The album's got a great version of Bill Withers' "Use Me" that features a tasty break in the intro -- and other titles include a great version of "Alone Again (Naturally)", plus the cuts "Let's Move & Groove", "Cherry Red", "Let Me In Your Life", and "You & Me Together".