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Evelyn Thomas: I Wanna Make It on My Own

Album Notes

Merely five tracks long, Chicago crooner Evelyn Thomas' debut "album" is a thoroughly pleasant if not entirely remarkable effort. By this point, the singer had scored several Top 40 U.K. hits in the Northern soul vein; for I Wanna Make It on My Own, that focus was maintained -- but disco elements were added for commercial measure. But it's the simultaneously effervescent and mellow horn and string arrangements that set the songs apart from other typical dancefloor fodder. It's easy to relax or groove to "It's the Magic of Your Touch," especially with the distinctive stamp of Thomas' eager, down to earth vocal approach and the background singers' equally spirited musings. Meanwhile, "Back to Reality" is sublimely funky, and the title cut sets themes of freedom and imprisonment in love to a chirpy, pre-Hi-NRG background. Melodically, though, the songs aren't nearly as consistent and engaging as those found on the follow-up set, Have a Little Faith in Me. Tracks on the latter, such as "Love's Not Just an Illusion" and "My Head's in the Stars," have an energy that I Wanna Make It on My Own lacks. Here, the sound is less discernible from a handful of other projects crafted by producer Ian Levine around the same time -- for artists such as Barbara Pennington, L.J. Johnson, and Doris Jones. ~ Justin M. Kantor


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