Review: "Circle of Love: 40th Anniversary Edition" - Sister Sledge

by David Spencer,

Remarkably Kathy, Debbie, Joni and Kim [Sledge] were all still in their teens when Circle of Love was released. It seems significant, not because they were young, as we had already seen the likes of The Osmonds and The Jacksons by then, but because here the sound is of a mature vocal group, not of a girly young band. Gwen Guthrie co-writes much of the material here, which lands between the Motown and Philly Soul brackets.

From the sublime brass backing of Give Into Love to the disco feel of Pain Reliever this was an album that showed the sisters would be around for a while. This reissue captures not just their debut but many of the hits that introduced the four girls to the UK. Debut top 20 hit, Mama Never Told Me is included twice, with a remix to round things off.

There are eight other bonus tracks, many of which are released on CD for the very first time. They come from the era before the group moved into a more commercial disco sound in the late seventies and early eighties and are the better for it in a way. There is a lovely insight into this innocent time for the sisters in the sleeve notes, with Kathy reflecting on the three-timing referencing Circle of Love by admitting it did sound like she got around!

The track list:
  • Circle of Love (Caught in the Middle)
  • Cross My Heart
  • Protect Our Love
  • Give in to Love
  • Love, Don't You Go Through No Changes on Me
  • Don't You Miss Him Now
  • Pain Reliever
  • You're Much Better Off Loving Me
  • Fireman
  • The Weatherman
  • Have You Met My Friend
  • Mama Never Told Me
  • Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First To Say Goodbye)
  • Love Has Found Me
  • Love Ain't Easy
  • Thank You for Today
  • Have Love, Will Travel
  • Cream of the Crop
  • Mama Never Told Me ("A Tom Moulton Mix")

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