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Performance (CTI Records 40th Anniversary Edition) [Original Recording Remastered]

Esther Phillips

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Texas-born Esther Phillips had a gift for interpreting songs and bestowing upon a lyric the sound and temperament of a wounded heart. She suffered addictions and personal setbacks, which fueled that voice, but record companies had trouble marketing her talents. Performance is her unheralded 1974 funky soul-jazz masterpiece, the fourth of seven albums she did for the Kudu label. Here, Phillips is at once commanding yet fragile, sassy yet vulnerable: On Dr. John’s “Such a Night” and Eugene McDaniels’ ahead-of-its-time “Disposable Society,” she sounds incontestably spirited despite subtexts of sadness, and the results are as breezy as they are beautiful. Allen Toussaint’s foreboding title tune finds the singer gracefully holding back like Billie Holiday—which only makes a line like “As I watch you fall down to your knees/They don’t know that you’re praying to please” all the more poignant. On Chris Smithers’ “I Feel the Same,” with its back-alley guitar and spare urban funk, Phillips sounds almost too comfortable telling us that there’s no easy way to say goodbye.

Biography

Born: December 23, 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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Performance (CTI Records 40th Anniversary Edition) [Original Recording Remastered], Esther Phillips
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  • $6.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Oct 04, 2011

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