Freda Payne – 1974 – Payne & Pleasure
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This is Freda’s first recording after she left Invictus.
It contains the R&B single It’s Yours to Have which I just love. I Get Carried Away is a beautiful ballad which should have been a big hit. Don’t Wanna be Left out in Rain is a 6 plus minute semi- ballad which reminds me a little bit of I’m Not Getting Any Better from the Contact LP.
The covers of I Won’t Last a Day Without You, The Way We Were and A Song for You are amazing. A Song for You starts off in the original tempo and she really rocks after 3 minutes into the song. This is one of my favorite LP’s by the gorgeous and talented FP! And what art work! The back cover is pretty good also!
I had always suspected that maybe Lamont was doing the same thing that he and the Hollands had done in giving others credit for his work on his two albums for ABC Records, as well as this masterpiece of an album on MS. FREDA PAYNE.
This has been one of my favorite vinyl LPs for decades. Too bad ABC did not know how to promote R&B albums effectively at this time. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MAJOR HIT ALBUM. It never made any sense that 3 albums of such quality should appear from writers/producers that had never had any output before…LAMONT, YOU DEVIL! The original songs…the covers of classic songs…the quality of this album show who the true goldmine was in the Holland-Dozier-Holland team, and Ms. Freda shows off that amazing voice (and body) that was only hinted at when she was at INVICTUS. She is truly supreme.
A1 It’s Yours To Have 3:50
A2 Didn’t I Tell You 3:15
A3 I Get Carried Away 4:19
A4 Run For Your Life 3:32
A5 Don’t Wanna Be Left Out 5:40
B1 Shadows On The Wall 5:09
B2 I Won’t Last A Day Without You 4:27
B3 The Way We Were 3:52
B4 A Song For You 5:40
Review by Scott Blackerby
I guess this will show a certain bias, but to my ears Freda Payne had one of the best voices in popular music. She simultaneously managed to sound soulful and classy (I can only imagine that contemporaries like Millie Jackson and Dionne Warwick would have killed to have been blessed with her chops – to say nothing of her devastating good lucks). All of those talents were aptly displayed on 1974’s “Payne & Pleasure“.
With the collapse of Invictus Records, Freda Payne found herself signed to ABC Dunhill (which would shortly collapse itself). Teamed with producer McKinley Jackson, “Payne & Pleasure” wasn’t a major departure from her earlier work. Tracks like ‘It’s Yours To Have‘, ‘Didn’t I Tell You‘ and ‘Run For Your Life‘ offered up a likeable mixture of soul and pop moves that sounded very much like the Invictus signature sound (‘course producer Jackson had been a big part of that label’s sound). Unfortunately, rather than sticking with that approach, the second side of the album seemingly sought to broaden Payne’s audience to an older, more mainstream audience. Like those hideous Motown albums that forced classic soul acts like The Supremes and The Temptations to cover lame MOR and Broadway tracks, a similar fate struck Payne.
With an infection melody and a wonderful vocal, ‘It’s Yours To Have‘ opened the album with a song that would have sounded right at home on one of Payne’s Invictus albums. Like the best of the Invictus catalog the song melded an infectious, heavily orchestrated melody with some surprisingly gritty vocals. Released as the leadoff single, it’s hard to believe this one didn’t do better on the charts.
‘Didn’t I Tell You‘ slowed things down, but wrapped the results in an even stronger hook. This one was a perfect example of Payne’s ability to simultaneously sound sultry, soulful, and in prime payback form. Shouldn’t have ticked her off … One of my favorites songs on the album; for goodness skae, one of my favorite Payne performances ever.
I’m a sucker for soul songs that incorporate gimmicks and ‘Run For Your Life‘ managed to meld a ‘Shaft’-styled sense of urgency and arrangement with an Indian war dance beat. Payne’s in-your-face vocal was simply fantastic and the only thing wrong with the song was that it faded out too soon.
‘Don’t Wanna Be Left Out‘ opened with an extended orchestral arrangement which led you to wonder if this was actually an instrumental. It the morphed into another big ballad, but Payne actually managed to transform the song into a driving up-tempo number. Most other singers would have simply drown in the arrangement.
The album was tapped for a couple of singles, though they failed to match earlier successes:
– 1974’s ‘ It’s Yours To Have‘ b/w ‘Run For Your Life‘ (ABC Dunhill catalog number D-15108)
– 1974’s ‘ I Get Carried Away‘ b/w ‘Shadows On the Wall‘ (ABC Dunhill catalog number 12079)