(4 / 5)
Want to see two words that adequately and concisely define classy and talented?
Well here they are: Thelma. Houston. A female US soul and R&B artist who may not have received all of the credit she perhaps deserves.
A great example of Ms Houston in her finest form is this superb re-release set which delivers four original classic Motown albums on two discs.
We get 37 tracks in total, including two bonus tracks, from when Thelma Houston was signed to Motown between 1971 and 1979.
The UK-based label Soul Music Records, have previously re-issued expanded editions of Thelma Houston releases, “The MoWest Album”, “Any Way You Like It” and two albums with Jerry Butler, “Thelma & Jerry/Two To One”.
Three Motown releases, “The Devil In Me” from 1977, “Ready To Roll” from 1978 and “Ride To The Rainbow” from 1979, came out after her global success with a cover of “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.
Two of the four albums here were released after Thelma left Motown. “Ready To Roll” and “Reachin’ All Around”, the latter a 1982 collection of material, making its worldwide first release on CD.
Included in this set are the hits, “I’m Here Again” and “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning”. The bonus tracks are 1977’s “If You Won’t Let Me Walk On The Water”, a non-album ‘B’ side and 1978’s “Love Masterpiece”, a track which was used on the soundtrack of the popular movie, “Thank God It’s Friday”.
Thelma Houston worked with respected producers including Hal Davis, Michael Masser, Van McCoy and Brian Holland. Well worth hearing are her covers of The Miracles’ hit “Love Machine” and the slick medley of “Stormy Weather” and Ann Peebles’ classic “I Can’t Stand The Rain”.
Track five of the second disc, from the album “Ride To The Rainbow”, is a stand-out cut: the Stevie Wonder and Syreeta-penned “Just A Little Piece Of You”. Other major moments of the collection include “Rhythm Of Love”, “Am I Expecting Too Much” and “Don’t Wonder Why”. The liner notes include 2018 input from Thelma.
So with this new release, it is most certain: Houston, we have NO problem…
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’