A double-disc distillation of the extraordinarily successful career of Chaka Khan, who made the transition from charismatic front woman for funk ensemble Rufus to solo stardom with a string of memorable hits.
From timeless dance anthem I’m Every Woman, to the deliciously vibrant Ain’t Nobody – a song Quincy Jones coveted for Michael Jackson’s Thriller – and her chart-topping Prince cover I Feel For You, complete with its Melle Mel rap and Stevie Wonder harmonica solo, it is an excellent album.
While a lot of the tracks are well-known, it is some of the others that provide unexpected enjoyment – Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere is recast with a jazzy / reggae vibe, the standard End Of A Love Affair is turned into a sumptuous supper club searer and Gregg Diamond’s disco hit Papillon (Hot Butterfly) is given wings.
Archant Newspapers, Suffolk
There are just a few songs that take me hurtling back to those halcyon days and nights of the eighties, a time when discos were packed to the hilt with gyrating dancers eager to get their hands and their ears on the latest tunes from the US. I can well remember absolutely being captivated by the magnificence of what became the anthem of club floors the world over, I’m Every Woman and despite Whitney recording it in the early 90’s for me the ONLY version will belong to Chaka.
And Prince may have recorded I Feel For You on his debut long player but it was Chaka who along with Melle Mel and Stevie Wonder that made it her biggest ever selling single.
Now we get the chance though 33 fabulous tracks to wander through Miss Khan’s Warners back catalogue of gems sampling such delights as Clouds, Ain’t Nobody (naturally), Signed Sealed Delivered, (I’m Yours) and the spine tingling, Through The Fire. Throw in a couple of remixes and you have in my opinion one of the best catalogue releases of the year.
Ask any soul singer worth their salt and they will tell you Chaka Khan is a massive inspiration. She’s got all the power of an Aretha Franklin with none of the shouting.
Which is why this two-CD set of 33 tracks is pretty much what it says on the box, essential. From I’M Every Woman (the original version that Whitney Houston covered) to I Feel For You, Ain’t Nobody to Clouds this is pure quality. Tracks such as her take on Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere and a searing version of jazz standard End Of A Love Affair are goose-bumpily good. Flawless.