This import two-fer CD includes Carn's first two albums from her contract with Philadelphia International. This means that we've got MFSB backing her up on tunes written by Gamble & Huff and McFadden & Whitehead - what's not to like? Philly Soul so smooth that it even hit the jazz chart. Carn's voice is fantastic and is perfectly suite to the material. Why she wasn't more popular is beyond me. This 2004 reissue on the Edsel label sounds great, bringing Carn's strong, soulful voice to the fore and includes thorough liner notes and lyrics (which I usually don't expect in a budget two-fer reissue).
"Jean Carn's self-titled debut for Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records could be subtitled 'Philly soul at its best.'" - Allmusic
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Jean Carn #122, Happy To Be With You did not chart
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: Jean Carn #46, Happy To Be With You #55
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: Jean Carn #26
Peak on Cash Box album chart: Jean Carn #127, Happy To Be With You #172
Tracks: The first 9 tracks of this CD are the 1976 self-titled debut album. My favorites from that one are Free Love, If You Wanna Go Back, Time Waits For No One and Where Did You Ever Go which would have been a top ten ballad for Barry Manilow despite the fact that Carn's powerful performance is definitive. I usually skip Don't You Know Love When You See It.
The final 8 tracks make up 1978's Happy To Be With You album which leads off with a smoking dance track "There's A Shortage Of Good Men" which would make a great dance club pairing with "It's Raining Men." The best song, however, is Don't Let It Go To Your Head. The only misstep is the album closer, a slow jam cover of You Light Up My Life (which, admittedly, is better than Debby Boone's version, but still).
While the 1976 eponymous album might contain some better songs, the 1978 album is the more consistently good album. In other words, get a copy of this CD.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None
Previously revisited for the blog:
When I Find You Love/Sweet And Wonderful (1979/1981)