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Freda Payne – 1966 – How Do You Say I Don’t Love You Anymore

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freda payne How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore

Killer early work from Freda Payne – an early album recorded for MGM many years before her later hit “Band Of Gold” – and a set with a great mix of soul and jazz modes, all arranged by the mighty Benny Golson! The record’s got a really classy feel – one that has a lot more poise than some of Freda’s later soul, and shows elements of the jazz she’d bring more to the forefront on Impulse Records. Yet Golson’s backings also still keep plenty of soul in the mix too – using full arrangements to almost give Payne an uptown soul sound, with a heavy groove on some of the album’s most memorable numbers.

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In 1966, when Freda Payne recorded How Do You Say I Don’t Love You Anymore for MGM, she had already recorded a jazz LP for Impulse! but was still a few years away from Invictus and her commercial peak with the polished ’70s soul of “Band of Gold“. Although the LP was arranged by Benny Golson, one of the finest arranger/composers in jazz, it was closer to a pop date than vocal jazz. Payne sang “Yesterday” and “Let It Be Me” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin‘”, while the studio charts of Golson(and production by Tom Wilson) looked to the contemporary pop burgeoning across the pond fromPetula Clark and Tony Hatch. (Think punchy but compressed brass, perfect for mono speakers in car radios and department stores.) Despite her early jazz leanings, Payne proves herself a far better pop-soul singer, sounding great on the two songs with the most hit potential, the title track and “You Never Should Have Loved Me“. By comparison, her interpretations of the standards are clumsy; she holds notes a beat too long and wrings every last note of melodrama from “Yesterday” and “Let It Be Me“. Overall, not a bad dry run for her Invictus recordings, which would begin in just a few years.