Reissues (Nov 3): Whitney Houston, Esther Phillips, Clarence Carter

Reissues (Nov 3): Whitney Houston, Esther Phillips, Clarence Carter

Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases.

Whitney Houston
I Wish You Love: More From The Bodyguard (Legacy/Sony Music 0886446734385)

Last week, we looked at the newly remastered and slightly expanded version of Saturday Night Fever, the second biggest selling soundtrack album of all-time. The only soundtrack to outsell it: The Bodyguard, whose 25th anniversary is marked by the release of this new compilation featuring live and previously unreleased studio variations of the six songs that Whitney Houston — who was also the star of the film — contributed to the album. Towering above everything else, of course, is I Will Always Love You, Dolly Parton's fragile country hit that Houston and her team transformed into one of the all-time power ballads. There are no fewer than three versions of the track here — an alternate studio mix prefaced by a spoken word intro from Houston in her movie role, the slightly different film version and a longer live version which gives Houston the chance to demonstrate her vocal gymnastics to great effect. I'm Every Woman, the jack swingish Queen Of The Night, I Have Nothing and I'm Every Woman are also given tweeks in film and/or live incarnations while a Bodyguard tour live version of the gospel cut Jesus Loves Me, extends to more than 10m in a medley with He's Got The Whole World In His Hands. It is probably an album that will appeal primarily to diehard Houston fans.    

Esther Phillips
A Beautiful Friendship: The Kudu Anthology 1971-1976 (SoulMusic SMCR 5159D)

A versatile and distinctive jazz singer, Esther Phillips recorded from the age of 14 until her death at the age of just 48 in 1984. There is much to commend from every period of her career but most pundits agree that her tenure at CTI imprint Kudu, spanning the years 1971 to 1976, produced some of her best work. It was a particularly productive period of Phillips' career, resulting in the release of seven albums, from which SoulMusic have selected the 33 songs which populate this 2 CD set. The songs showcase Phillips' versatility and extraordinary phasing. Perhaps the best known is the old chestnut, What A Diff'rence A Day Makes. Most famously recorded by Dinah Washington as a stately ballad, it was reborn as a hectic, hustling disco cut in Phillips' hands, and became a global smash. Nothing else here matched its popularity but there are gems aplenty, including a fine take on Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again (Naturally) and a wholly believable version of Gil Scott-Heron's harrowing drug song, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, which is informed by Phillips' own struggles. Lengthy and informative liner notes from SoulMusic founder David Nathan complete a strong package. 

Clarence Carter
Testifyin'/Patches (Kent CDKEND 470)

Featuring the entire contents of Clarence Carter's third album Testifyin' (1969) and fourth album Patches (1970) on a single disc alongside a trio of bonus tracks making their CD debut, this  is a perfect way to sample the legendary southern soul singer's canon. Serving as the title track to the second of the albums, Patches was originally recorded by Chairman Of The Board but became a massive hit in the hands of Carter, spending three weeks at No.2 in the UK behind Matthews Southern Comfort's Woodstock. Carter's version of the tearjerker — in which the eponymous 13-year-old hero is given responsibility to 'pull the family through' from his father on his deathbed — is more nuanced than the original, with a wistful country feel complete with harmonica. Carter also excels on The Box Tops' hit Soul Deep and John D Loudermilk's Bad News and makes a decent stab at The Beatles' Let It Be but the best of the rest are originals, most of which he penned with George Jackson. Well worth a listen. 

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