Phyllis Hyman – 1979 – You Know How to Love Me
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By M. A Fortes
Phyllis Hyman could sing anything and make it worthwhile. Here, she teamed up with James Mtume and Reggie Lucas to create an R&B record that would boost her profile. Mtume and Lucas had been a part of Miles Davis’ explosive electric ensembles of the ’70s before they started writing and producing hits for Roberta Flack, Stephanie Mills, Ms. Hyman, and themselves in their band Mtume.
Phyllis didn’t achieve the crossover success that was expected with this release in 1979, but all the ingredients for success are here. The title track and “Under Your Spell” are just as infectious as similar hits Mtume and Lucas crafted for Stephanie Mills, and “Some Way” is one of the best quiet storm tracks Phyllis recorded. A couple of songs on the second half of the album sound like rote disco tunes of the day, but Phyllis is in fine voice throughout. The previously unreleased bonus track, “You’re The One” is actually from 1977. However, it fits in just fine with the rest of the record.
All Music Review by Jose F. Promis
“You Know How to Love Me” was Phyllis Hyman‘s most successful album and was carefully tailored to become the artist’s crossover breakthrough, with prolific producer/songwriters James Mtume and Reggie Lucas on board. The end result is a carefully constructed blend of contemporary disco-styled songs and ballads, some better than others, and the more routine tracks are always rescued by Hyman stellar pipes. The album never truly realized its full potential, but does include the song that would become one of Hyman’s signature tunes, “You Know How to Love Me“. The song was never a blockbuster hit, but has grown into a classic, covered by artists such as Lisa Stansfield and Robin S. Other highlights include the excellent quiet storm of “Some Way“, which allows Hyman’s husky voice to shine; the somber, sublime piano ballad “But I Love You” and the jazzy saxophone ballad “Complete Me“.
You Know How to Love Me is as close as Hyman truly came to becoming a commercial force and is an important and essential chapter in this star’s musical legacy. The album was re-released in 2002, boasting excellent liner notes by biographer David Nathan, rare photos, and a bonus track, “You’re the One“,recorded in 1977, which blends in perfectly with the rest of the disc. This is the case of an album that was not a blockbuster upon initial release, but, like a great overlooked film, has grown into a classic whose importance will only increase with the passing of time.