Sat. Nov. 17, 2018

Linda Clifford – You Are You Are (Curtom Records)

Classics: Linda Clifford – You Are You Are (Curtom Records)

Things happen to occur in a quite thwarted way at times. And shame to you if you happen to be in such a case. This being pretty much what Linda Clifford has been goin’ thru. As an actress, although sadly reduced to minor roles. But also by the time, she decided to focus on singing. Generating a poor following until the moment she signed a deal with Curtom Records. And more precisely until the release of her second album – ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’ – for the label back in 1978.

An effort that fully showcased her undeniable talent. From its title track, to the seminal ‘Runaway Love’ which Nuyorican Soul eventually covered 18 years later. Not to mention the stellar ‘You Are You Are’ which, to me, stands as its absolute peak. With thanks to its uplifting lyrics. But also its stellar production under the direction of label head Curtis Mayfield. This with the contribution of The Jones Girls on backing vocals and Keni Burke on bass guitar.

A deeply touching statement, ‘You Are You Are’ somehow has the characteristics of a Gospel song. I never had the confirmation it was tough. This adding to the fact that Clifford doesn’t really give the feeling it is.
‘You Are You Are’ remains nevertheless a one of a kind love song. A cut which Curtis Mayfield eventually took for himself soon after. This also with The Jones Girls responsible for the backings on his ‘Do It All Night’ album…

Strangely enough, ‘You Are You Are’, which got licensed on Warner, only saw the light as a 7 inch in France and Brazil. Meanwhile UK outfit Black Masses gave it a worth the check interpolation – ‘Wonderful Person’ – 20 years after with remixing work courtesy of Masters At Work.

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Overview
– Brooklyn, NY native Linda Clifford is a multi-talented artist. She first came to light as an actress back at the end of the sixties. This in films such as ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘The Boston Strangler’, ‘Coogan’s Bluff’ and ‘Sweet Charity’. Reduced to minor roles though, she gave up to focus on developping her career as a singer.

Recognition would come in 1978 with the release of her second album. Its title track – ‘If My Friends Could See me Now’ – standing as her biggest success ever. An album which also included the memorable ‘Runaway Love’ and ‘You Are You Are’.

With Mayfield‘s Curtom Records signing a joint venture with RSO, she would gain extra success with her Disco cover version of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. This as a part of ‘Let Me Be Your Woman’, her second album for this new association back in 1979. Eventually comin’ up with a duet album – ‘The Right Combination’ – with Curtis Mayfield in 1980. That same year seeing her releasing her ‘I’m Yours’ album which spanned the #1 US Dance Club Songs ‘Red Light’ and ‘Shoot Your Best Shot’.

With her contract switching to Capitol, she delivered I’ll Keep on Loving You two years after. It included the memorable ‘All The Man I Need’ with the late Luther Vandross in charge of the vocal arrangements. Sister Sledge covered it the year after. With Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross following respectively in 1990 and 1994. Although the latter retitled it ‘All The Woman I Need’ for the occasion.
‘My Heart’s On Fire’, her last solo album to date, saw the light back in 1985. Seeing her flirting with Swing vibes on the firing ‘The Heat In Me’.

Clifford made a brilliant come back in 2000 with the Ralphi Rosario produced ‘Changin”. And more precisely with its Shelter remixes courtesy of Blaze on West End. The year after, she secured her fourth UK Singles Chart entry with ‘Ride The Storm’, billed as Akabu featuring Linda Clifford on NRK. The latter getting her to collaborate with Joey Negro with whom she released ‘Spinnin” two years later as Prospect Park featuring Linda Clifford. Then, more recently, ‘Won’t Let Go’ as Joey Negro featuring Linda Clifford in 2017.

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