Phyllis Hyman -1977 – Phyllis Hyman
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The world first became aware of Phyllis Hyman in 1975, through four tracks that were released before her debut album. The first of these, “Leaving The Good Life Behind,” sailed along the disco wave of the period. Her passion through the lyrics she sings is evident; however, the single was not met with the same passion. It came and went without fanfare. Her second single “Baby, I’m Gonna Love You” fare better and garnered more attention on the R&B charts, rewarding her with a minor hit. Both tracks were produced by George Kerr, who is credited with discovering Phyllis Hyman.
A1 Loving You, Losing You 7:41
A2 No One Can Love You More 4:20
A3 One Thing on My Mind 5:30
A4 I Don’t Want to Lose You 5:31
B1 Deliver the Love 4:02
B2 Was Yesterday Such a Long Time Ago 4:55
B3 The Night Bird Gets the Love 5:20
B4 Beautiful Man of Mine 6:56
B5 Children of the World 2:55
Her subsequent artistic collaboration with Norman Connors resulted in two released singles from his acclaimed album “You Are My Starship“. The mid-tempo duet, “We Both Need Each Other“, further capitalized on her unique style and her voice was complimented with featured male vocalist Michael Henderson. She would record with him again in the future on one of her biggest R&B hits. It wasn’t until the painfully lush ballad, “Betcha By Golly Wow“, that provoked an effective second look at this aspiring singer. The result: it raised the audience’s interest level of this woman who projected a musical and artistic maturity far beyond her years. During the course of her musical career, she would continue to lovingly tease her fans by occasionally providing vocals to tracks for other artists such as Norman Connors, The Four Tops, Barry Manilow, Joe Sample, Pharaoh Sanders, Lonnie Liston Smith, McCoy Tyner, the late Grover Washington, Jr. and The Whispers.
This 1977 set is the debut from one of music’s most emotional and loved singers. Her career got a jump-start from her work on Norman Connors’s 1976 album You Are My Starship, where Hyman gave a melancholy and skilled reading of the Stylistics’ hit “Betcha By Golly Wow.” That album set the standard for Hyman’s career and features classy, mellow R&B sound made by players with esteemed jazz/R&B players. But among her late ’70s and early ’80s output, Phyllis Hyman is curiously one of her most forgotten efforts, though it includd many songs she would be later be identified with. Skip Scarborough’s “No One Can Love You More” is indicative of her plentiful sensual charm and her rich vocal timbre. Although Hyman’s vocal prowess is well known, this set also shows that she was gifted with an uncommon maturity. Hyman was only in her mid 20’s when this was recorded. That self-possession made her glide through the majority of the material here. Thom Bell and Linda Creed’s “I Don’t Want to Lose You” (originally recorded by the Spinners) has Hyman’s version even more of a tearjerker. From singing the chorus in the intro, to doing a Sarah Vaughan-like scat in the middle, the song was hers. The debut also displays her skill, the blessing and curse of making half-baked material interesting. On “Beautiful Man of Mine” and Hubert Eaves’ “Children of the World“, her vocals are undoubtedly the best thing about the tracks. Phyllis Hyman veers from instant melodic classics to unformed ideas, a mix that prevents it from being essential.