Elton John, The Complete Thom Bell Sessions

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.24.12 in Reviews

The Complete Thom Bell Sessions

Elton John
Both not enough of a good thing and too much

Recorded in 1977, released as a three-song EP in 1979, and reissued as six-track album a decade later, Elton John’s Philadelphia soul sessions are both not enough of a good thing and too much. Thom Bell, ’70s R&B architect and writer and super-producer of most hits by the Delfonics, the Stylistics and the Spinners, gets yearning performances out of the star, while the sophisticated, string-dominated arrangements and insistent dancefloor rhythms make for a welcome break from the usual piano pumping, but most every cut vocally vamps on too long. The sleeper here is “Are You Ready for Love,” which topped the UK charts in 2003 after finally becoming the club hit it was clearly destined to be.