(3 / 5)
A first-ever compilation of all of the recordings by Vivian Reed, cut between 1968-1971 for Epic Records. Included is Vivian’s sole self-titled Epic LP, along with seven non-album tracks issued as ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides of singles issued both before and after the album’s release in 1968.
Pittsburgh-born Vivian, who studied at the famed Juilliard School Of Music in New York, began her performing career singing at local clubs in Manhattan before coming under the wings of the owners of the renowned Apollo Theatre in Harlem, leading to a contract with CBS Records.
Working initially with Epic staff producer Ted Cooper, Vivian cut a total of fourteen tracks, with a range of material from soulful cuts such as “Yours Until Tomorrow,” (a US Top 50 R&B charted single) and a powerhouse medley of two Righteous Brothers’ hits, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” and “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration,” alongside show tunes and standards of the day such as “Somewhere” and “I’ve Gotta Be Me.”
Further singles with country producer Billy Sherrill, Van McCoy & Joe Cobb (which yielded the original version of “Lean On Me,” a few years later an R&B hit for Melba Moore) and Richard Perry (including a funky version of Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move”) followed before Vivian left Epic. After a short stint with Atco, she starred in the Broadway musical “Bubbling Brown Sugar.”
A dynamic and popular live performer, Vivian contributed quotes to a stellar essay by Justin Kantor while Dr. Jason King (creator of Company Freak, with whom she has worked) has penned a personal tribute for this 20 track reissue, re-mastered from original Epic tapes by Nick Robbins. A very welcome release.
By Sally Fox
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’