You know it has just struck me that Linda Clifford is one of my favourite singers. Which might sound like a strangely late realisation, as I’ve been loving her voice and records for decades, but one of the pleasures about writing about music is that it can allow you perfect moments of clarity, lacking the distractions of the world – it’s just you and sound. These remastered releases of the artist span the years between 1978 to 1980 and all are augmented by their accompanying 12” Mixes, as well as boasting that this is the first time they have appeared on CD. The first album: If My Friends Could See Me Now (Linda’s second for Curtis Maysfield’s excellent Curtom label) is nothing short of stunning beginning to end. Let’s start with the voice which has that unique ability to capture life’s ever unfolding moments, realising and then translating them. And it’s kind of impact – now tested by time – that not all R&B styled singers still resonate from that era, or certainly not conveyed with such a street-wise edge. The instrumentation provided is also first rate as are the productions themselves, which comes as little surprise when you look at the wealth of talent there. Or, more succinctly as you will hear on the albums hugely classic single, Runaway Love crystallising everything I have just said. The full length version was mixed by the iconic DJ Jim Burgess and provides a lesson in everything worth knowing. Next, Let Me Be Your Woman saw the music evolve from Disco into funkier moves with prominent slap-bass driving the faster numbers such as the exhilarating Shoot Your Best Shot, while also allowing the downtempo space created by the slower songs to express other vocal creativity. As indeed did the following Here’s My Love from the same year. I’m Yours, saw the opening of the next decade by again adopting the full range of influences on offer in terms of the song writing, the vocal delivery and of course the music itself. The more intimate Sweet Melodies and sheer funkiness of Hold Me Close highlight just how the flame was never dimmed and the ability to convey the power of emotion. Which is, in the end, what all great singers do.