(5 / 5)
Soul diva Jean Carne’s music is timeless. Still going strong too. Her soul cuts from the 1970s are still much sought-after by collectors, and by those of us with discerning taste.
As part of its best-selling anthology series, SoulMusic Records has just dropped an essential listen; the double CD set, “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head,” by the inimitable Ms. Carne.
Focused on her four-album tenure with Philadelphia International Records (1976-1981), this cracking collection was compiled by David Nathan, who has known Jean since 1977. He has also provided the liner notes, with extensive quotes from a new 2018 interview with Jean.
The collection includes Jean’s much-loved dance classics, the set’s title cut and 12″ single versions of the perennial “Was That All It Was”, and “What’s On Your Mind” making its CD debut.
In addition to key PIR album cuts, standouts include Jean’s unforgettable full version of The Spinners’ classic “Love Don’t Love Nobody”, the Eddie Levert-produced “My Love Don’t Come Easy”, and essential staples of Jean’s live repertoire; “If You Wanna Go Back”, “Free Love” and “We Got Some Catchin’ Up To Do”.
Among the 33 cuts on the two CDs, her take on the Philly classic “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, the Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes classic, is included; from Jean’s sole 1982 Motown. Also here is her version of Minnie Riperton’s “Completeness.
There’s a smattering of guest duets too, including the US top 20 R&B hits “I’m Back For More” with Al Johnson, “Valentine Love” with Michael Henderson, and fabulous tracks with Dexter Wansel, Norman Connors, Roy Ayers and Grover Washington, Jr.
Georgia-born Jean’s recording career got its start on the first couple of albums by Earth, Wind & Fire and three famed early ‘70s jazz LPs with her ex-husband Doug Carn.
Boasting an incredible five octave range, Jean began her association with drummer Norman Connors in 1974, and by the early 1980s, her first performances in the UK created a love affair with European audiences that continues to this day.
With first-class mastering, “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head – The Anthology” is a fitting testament to the skilful artistry of one super-soulful woman.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’