Linda Clifford – Linda – Used LP
"The best of these covers is Clifford's doo wop take on Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night," a clever remake that provides a good vehicle for her brassy vocal persona."
Donald A. Guarisco: This album is the debut outing for Linda Clifford, Curtom Records' answer to Donna Summer. Although Clifford would soon become a well-known disco diva through hits like her over-the-top remake of "If My Friends Could See Me Now," this set is a surprisingly low-key affair that downplays disco grooves for a more soul-oriented sound. The standout dance tracks are "You Can Do It," a self-determination anthem set to a sultry, mid-tempo groove, and "From Now On," a Bunny Sigler composition that pits a clavinet-driven beat against glossy orchestrations to create an ideal disco showcase for Clifford's gospel-tinged vocals. The other material is mostly covers of pop and soul hits, including Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" and the Bee Gees' "Be Tender With My Love." The best of these covers is Clifford's doo wop take on Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night," a clever remake that provides a good vehicle for her brassy vocal persona. However, the presence of all these covers points up the big problem with this album: its reliance upon covers keeps it from establishing a strong persona for its star attraction. Linda's overall power is also diminished by the fact that Clifford often attacks the songs with a little too much enthusiasm: the heartbroken ballad "You Gotta Tell Her" would have benefited more from a subtle, vulnerable vocal performance instead of the full-throated gospel wail that Clifford gives it. Despite these problems, Linda boasts an appealingly slick production by ex-Motown staffer Gil Askey and clearly highlights the promise that would soon be realized on her future hits.