Come & Get Me I'm Ready (Rmst) (Jpn)


aec.unij0579277.2 12/17/13 New
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    Come & Get Me I'm Ready (Rmst) (Jpn) Universal

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Review Text Kim Tolliver is an obscure name on the rosters of soul greats, but she shouldn't be. Tolliver, who only issued two albums, recorded a generous numbers of singles, some of which became regional hits. She passed away in 2007. In addition to her absolutely riveting voice, she was a fine songwriter in her own right. Tolliver, who eventually married fellow soul singer and writer Fred Briggs, experienced her greatest success as a songwriter (especially when in association with Briggs), placing a number of songs with Margie Joseph on a pair of Stax/Volt LPs. Come and Get Me, I'm Ready on Chess is the only album Tolliver cut that appeared under her own name, and it's her only set to appear on a major. Her first album, Passing Clouds, was released by Fantasy under her married name. This album is one of those truly weird sets that combines many sounds to reach something so cohesive, visionary, and true that it's a bit of a shock to grasp that it went nowhere upon release. Tolliver and Briggs were based in both Cleveland and Memphis. They cut part of the album in each place, with the biggest bit in Miami, and the horns were cut at the label studio in Chicago. Produced by Briggs, who also served as co-arranger with John A. Brinson, this is a stellar collection of deep soul tracks with a bent toward midtempo searing ballads. Tolliver and Briggs wrote the lion's share of the album. There isn't a weak moment here. The songs are sophisticated and rooted in the Memphis tradition, with nods to the sounds of Cleveland and Detroit. But the melodies are as complex as the arrangements are back-to-basics. Standout cuts include the title track, an uptempo soul stomper with big horns, backing vocals, and Tolliver in a fierce growl. But the real measure of a great soul singer is the way she or he treats a ballad. And Kim Tolliver was second to none in this department, as evidenced by "The Way He Used To," the opening wronged-woman cheating ballad "The Other Side of Town," the beautiful "She Don't Know You (Like I Do)," and the killer reading of Willie Hale's Gwen McCrae hit, "I'm Losing the Feeling." Come and Get Me, I'm Ready was released on CD in 2008 by Universal Music Special Markets on the Reel Music imprint, a label dedicated to obscure soul offerings. Obviously inspired by Dusty Groove's fantastic reissue program of material from Universal's vast vaults, these sets contain original cover art, complete credit information (as available), and historical liner notes (those included here by John Ridley are exhaustive), all for a budget price. This album cannot be recommended highly enough. ~ Thom Jurek

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