NANCY WILSON: Music On My Mind/Life, Love And Harmony (Soul Music)

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Nancy Wilson fans have been wonderfully served over the past 18 months by Soul Music Records. The label has systematically been reissuing her Capitol back catalogue and here they bring to CD 1978’s ‘Music On My Mind’ and ’79’s ‘Life, Love And Harmony’.

‘Music On My Mind’ was conceived to celebrate Ms. Wilson’s 25th anniversary in the business and unusually for her all the songs on the LP were originals – most written specifically for her. The end result – yes, it does sound obvious – is all very “Nancy Wilson”… clean, smooth, sophisticated, almost antiseptic but strangely infectious. Odd then that Erykah Badu sampled one of the cuts – the mid-tempo ‘I’m In Love’… but then again the neo-soul Queen is nothing if not enigmatic. ‘I’m In Love’ is one of the album’s standouts, along with the title cut and ‘Let It Flow’ which features a great sax solo from Ernie Watts.

‘Life, Love And Harmony’ was conceived and produced by Nancy’s then musical director Larry Farrow and again most of the songs are originals. Get past the formulaic opening of the LP’s title cut (which kicks things off) and you have a decent, if sedate dancer while ‘Sunshine’ harks back a little to the singer’s jazz roots. Oddly, there’s a song here commissioned from a British writing team – Les Reed and Roger Greenaway. Their ‘You Bring Out The Best In Me’ is a breathy, sensual ballad… yes, very “Nancy Wilson”.

(BB) 3/5