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THE THREE DEGREES: STRATEGY (SOULMUSIC RECORDS)
Upon hearing about the concept of this release my mind threw up lots of doubts. Philly’s finest ladies recording cover versions…mmm. Hah, I should have known better. OK. Yes, these are versions of well loved titles but the ladies Degree-ize them all! Not only do they imprint their unmistakable sound, but they actually personalise them as well, re-injecting a new excitement and feminine slant that demands listening to time and again. It’s a new musical adventure and one I know I’ll be taking regularly. From the opening track, a sliding, motivating take on the CD’s title, I realised we were onto something more than I first thought. Into “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”, then “Me And Mr Jones” which is all the more interesting, and somewhat more compassionate, than the original. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” reaches and stretches before dipping and swaying, building a new concept to the established soul classic.

Everyone knows “Disco Inferno” is one of my greatest dance loves – The Trammps and Tina Turner – and now a third version is included in my illustrious hit list. I mention all these tracks merely to highlight how cleverly this re-worked material is, and how silly I was to expect a musical also-ran. Helen, Valerie and Freddie have noted their thoughts in the CD’s booklet, and as Helen, in particular wrote “thanks for believing in us and hanging in there – the saga continues!” Indeed, it does and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed in this heartfelt, sincere and loving tribute to Philadelphia via their favourite songs. Congratulations to all involved and well done ladies – you’ve done us proud. Highly recommended!

Rating: 10


About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.
  
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