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From Whisper to a Scream
Format: Audio CDChange
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2005
Esther Phillips could hold her own against any blues singer, male or female. She personifies the blues.

Having visited the rougher side of life, "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" is sung as though Esther's soul is turned inside-out. Written by Gil Scott-Heron, it is achingly beautiful. The title song "From A Whisper To A Scream" is one of the rawest blues tunes ever! Written by blues great Allen Toussaint, he must have been thrilled with Esther's rendition. Esther's vocal has funky tones in "Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone" accompanied by a soulful sax solo. Her vocal expression is perfection! You can feel the wanting in Esther's heavy vocal "Baby, I'm For Real", a ballad which was written by Marvin Gaye. Nothing can compare to sultry Esther singing "Your Love Is So Doggone Good". This steamy number is so thick you could cut it with a knife. When Esther sings "How Blue Can You Get?" written by Leonard Feather she IS about as blue as it gets. Full-bodied blues, Esther's hot interpretation of "Scarred Knees" is thankfully over six minutes long. "Brother, Brother" is a soulful tribute like none other for its songwriter, Carole King. Completely tender, Esther's artistry is very fine when she sings "Don't Run And Hide". "A Beautiful Friendship" is a mature and beautiful ending for the album.

Originally recorded as an LP in 1971, the arrangements contained bass, drums, guitar, percussion, organ, piano, trumpet, flugelhorn and three saxophones: alto, tenor, baritone. In addition are such seldom used instruments (by today's standards): trombone, violin, viola, cello, and harp. This alone tells you how full-bodied these blues arrangements are.

This album is the definitive example of what a blues singer is all about. So if you love the blues, and you ain't got this one, you better add it to your collection!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Esther Phillips remains one of the greatest ever heart & soul singers for all time, never finer than in this extraordinary and deeply moving masterpiece, inspiring "Lady Soul" herself to give Esther "Grammy Award" she herself had won but knew Esther Phillips truly deserved for this once in a lifetime stunning masterpiece. Always have loved Aretha Franklin, as a music loving teen fortunate to experience this legendary wonder in a small club venue, when Aretha made this totally unselfish move delevoped an even deeper love and RESPECT for the great lady. Esther as a major child star grew up way too fast and this laid the foundation making for a difficult life for the brilliant but deeply troubled singer. When Esther went in studio and laid down deeply moving tracks for this classic and deeply soulful masterpiece, she was in top form & at any price this phenomenal musical treasure is a bargain as genius as this wondrous collection of masterful performances will never happen again. Raw naked emotion plus extraordinary vocal brilliance make for a collection not equalled before or since, stunning achievement with its tremendous depth and range is the ultimate "Master Class" collection for aspiring singers plus a magical music feast for music lovers in general...hearing & feeling a wide range of stellar performances is the musical experience of a lifetime, nothing in my collection is cherished quite like this treasured musical gem...thank you Esther for sharing your wondrous gift, leaving behind timeless classics to savor & enjoy over and over again for all time!
RIP soulful lady, love and miss you forever Esther...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2004
Esther Phillips has a phenomenal voice, her vocal talents can easily compare to Aretha, Sarah Vaughan or even one of the more recent nu soul artists like Erykah. I was introduced to her music via a UK based DJ Gilles Peterson who has a habit of eductaing his audience to soul and jazz gems of yesteryear as well as hot new acts.

This album is a crate diggers jewel, hard to come by and expensive when found. Aretha gave her grammy to Esther as she felt it was the true winner that year. And yet it is still not readily available.

For an idea of what great soul jazz music Esther made during her Kudos era check out the Anthology collection or the Kudos years or the recently re released What a difference a day makes. If you have never heard her before get ready for an aural treat the likes of which you never imagined possible in a non sexual context... hold on! thats over kill, no one can sing that good... She is great though, a great artist who deserves more exposure,

If you know what i am talking about.. post here so we can consumer pressure a re release of this well crafted emotive representation of a tortured artist at her best....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2005
There's no excuse for this being out-of-print. This is probably the most scorching Kudu LP ever made, and who can hold a candle to her version of "Baby, I'm for Real" or "Home is Where the Hatred Is"? NO ONE. What soul, what pain, what glory. Shame on Motown for burying this gem in obscurity.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2004
of course it a GREAT piece of happytime blues.jazz/rock/fusion for everyone sonically inclined towards perfection!What kills me is she isn't even listed in The All Music Guide' either.She never did put out a lot of lp's Kudu was her major label[...] shows she did record 45's but who has a clue how many?

One of the premiere r&b vocalists of the 1950s through the 1980s, `Little Esther' Phillips possessed both great talent and even greater demons. When she was an adolescent, her parents divorced, and she was forced to divide her time between her father in Houston and her mother in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Although she was brought up singing in church, she was hesitant to enter a talent contest at a local blues club, but her sister insisted and Esther complied. The young dynamo wowed the club owner, bluesman Johnny Otis, and he immediately signed her to his roster of performers. Esther would record on Otis's record label, and perform in his revue. Otis gave her the moniker `Little Esther' that would follow her throughout her career.

Esther Phillips' voice had a unique nasal sound that delighted audiences with its distinct phrasing and exacting diction. She scored many r&b hits in the early 1950s, but soon became disillusioned with Johnny Otis, finally walking out when her refused her request for a salary increase. Through the remainder of the decade, Esther recorded for various record companies without success. She returned to Houston to live with her father at this time, and to deal with the greatest challenge in her young life -- her drug dependency. Apparently, the stress of life on the road with hardened blues performers, and her insecurities had led her to indulge in heroin as an escape.

After rebounding from her dark days, Esther worked small nightclubs in the southwest, and was spotted by rising star Kenny Rogers, who loved her sound. He arranged a recording contract for her, and she released a hit country and western album. She dropped the adjective `Little' from her name then. Soon after she signed with Atlantic records and released a series of records with only modest success. They dropped her in 1967, and her drug dependency deepened.

After a stint in a rehab hospital, Atlantic re-signed Esther, and soon released a live album consider to be among her best. The label attempted to squeeze Esther into a pop singer mold, but she wasn't comfortable in the role, so again they cut her free from her contract. In 1971 jazz maestro Creed Taylor signed her to his Kudu label, and this is where Esther's best work can be found. Soon she was singing in high-profile venues along with big-name talent, and international jazz festivals. In 1975, she scored her biggest hit single since her early days with Johnny Otis with the early disco track `What A Diff'rence A Day Makes,' a remake of a Dinah Washington standard.

Soon restless, Esther left Kudu records for another label in 1977, but was never able to duplicate her success. Depression and insecurity again hounded her and she again turned to heroin, and this time alcohol. She released a few records on small independent labels with little success or notice. The years of addiction had taken a huge toll on `Little Esther' Phillips and she succumbed to liver and kidney failure in Los Angeles in August of 1984.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
Aretha heard her and wanted to give up the grammy.
I heard her and wanted to get me a woman so I could break up with her
So I could cry in my beer and listen to this and really appreciate it.
The Lady can sang.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2009
In about 1972, someone came into my house and stole all my records--this is the ONLY one that I was sorry to lose! So, now, I can play this CD and feel good. I am a connoisseur of female soul singers--I like Paula West today, like Dinah Washington and Anita Baker, Etta James, Aretha, liked Billy, Ella, even like Nina Simone and even Leontyne Price and Kathleen Battle do have soul, but Esther is SOUL. I am very sorry for her passing, and we must revere her life by listening to her work--a truly gifted artist who lived like her songs. If you listen, you will be moved.
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on December 3, 2012
You haven't lived until you've listened to this remarkably raw, honest, and soul-exposed album. One hearing and you'll quickly appreciate the fact that Esther lived every song; from her soul to yours.

Nearly thirty years after her early passing, she remains a unique gift to our ears and hearts. Thank you Esther, you've been heard, special lady. RIP and love.

Here's the (missing!!!) track listing

1. Home Is Where The Harted Is
2. From A Whisper To A Scream
3. To Lay Down Besides You
4. That's All Right With Me
5. 'till My Back Ain't Got No Bone
6. Sweet Touch Of Love
7. Baby, I'm For Real
8. Your Love Is So Doggone Good
9. Scarred Knees
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on May 19, 2014
I use to have this album years ago & finally it's on cd. You can't go wrong if you like Esther Phillips or the Blues. You'll recognize that
some of her songs were done by other Artists & it will make you think (Who done it first) I'll let you figure that out. But, in the mean time i recommend this CD to be added to your collection & while ( Surfing ) threw your collection, listen to my favorate track # 9 Scared Knees.
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on June 22, 2013
I had ordered one other cd which had most of the same tunes; I kept it, because there were some that were not. All in all, the music is golden. Ms. Phillips has such a unique voice and interpretation of all her music. I once met her at an NAACP Awards ceremony, in Los Angeles, a very pleasant, friendly and approachable artist.
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