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And I Love Him

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Album Review

A collection of "great love songs," And I Love Him! leads with the title track, a Beatles cover and an R&B hit, featuring a soft yet tremendously effective performance from the great Esther Phillips. Elsewhere Phillips wears her Dinah Washington influences well, stretching out her voice and exercising it with a sly, nuanced delivery while tackling a few excellent choices for material: "Shangri-La," "Out of the Blue," and "I Wish You Love." Surprisingly, she also exhibits a sure hand with some odd crossovers like "Moonglow & Theme From Picnic," "People," and "Girl From Ipanema." The arrangements, by Ralph Ellis, are definitely geared toward adult pop, but fortunately they're never so ostentatious that they get in the way of Phillips' idiosyncratic voice and gorgeous performances.

Biography

Born: 23 December 1935 in Galveston, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Esther Phillips was perhaps too versatile for her own good, at least commercially speaking; while she was adept at singing blues, early R&B, gritty soul, jazz, straight-up pop, disco, and even country, her record companies often lacked a clear idea of how to market her, which prevented her from reaching as wide an audience as she otherwise might have. An acquired taste for some, Phillips' voice had an idiosyncratic, nasal quality that often earned comparisons to Nina Simone, although she herself...
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And I Love Him, Esther Phillips
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