Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream
Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream
Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream
Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream
Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream
Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream

Esther Phillips - From A Whisper To A Scream

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Esther Phillips - vocals

Vocals – Barbara Massey, Hilda Harris, Joshie Armstead, Louis St. Louis, Tasha Thomas

Alto Saxophone – Hank Crawford

Baritone Saxophone – David Liebman

Bass – Gordon Edwards

Cello – Alan Shulman, Charles McCracken

Drums – Bernard Purdie

Flugelhorn – John Eckert, John Gatchell

Flute – David Liebman, Frank Vicari

Guitar – Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale

Harp – Margaret Ross

Organ – Richard Tee

Percussion – Airto Moreira

Piano – Richard Tee

Tenor Saxophone – Frank Vicari

Trombone – Dick Griffin, Sam Burtis

Trumpet – John Eckert, John Gatchell

Viola – Harold Coletta, Harry Zaratzian

Violin – Alvin Rogers, Charles Libove, Guy Lumia, Jack Zayde, Leo Kahn, Max Hollander, Max Pollikoff, Michael Comins, Paul Winter

Arranged by Pee Wee Ellis, Jack Wilson (A5, B3, B4)

Strings arranged by Don Sebesky (A1, A2, A3, A4, B2)

Conductor – Pee Wee Ellis


1LP, standard sleeve

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : Black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : unspecified

Label : Pure Pleasure

Original Label : Kudu

Recorded December 1971 at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder

Produced by Creed Taylor

Remastered by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London

Originally released in 1971

Reissued in 2014



Side A:

  1. Home Is Where the Hatred Is
  2. From A Whisper To A Scream
  3. To Lay Down Beside You
  4. That's All Right With Me
  5. 'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone

Side B:

  1. Sweet Touch of Love
  2. Baby, I'm For Real
  3. Your Love Is So Doggone good
  4. Scarred Knees



“Esther Phillips is one of the best – and, sadly, least remembered – Rhythm and Blues singers of the 20thCentury. Discovered by Johnny Otis, she was twice nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received four Grammy nominations. This comeback record of 1972 accounted for one of those nominations. Like Philips, the CTI sister label Kudu is little remembered today. Kudu released 39 soul jazz albums in the 1970’s and seven of those were from Phillips

Joined by an excellent backing band from the Creed Taylor CTI stable, Phillips turns in a sizzling performance of songs celebrating her scars from love and drugs. Phillips died at the age of 48 from her liver and kidney failure resulting from drug use, and some of the song lyrics here express the painful ravages of drugs. That tight jazz/blues band, along with a dozen strings, and a half dozen backing singers, in absolutely no way interferes with her ability to pull the last ounce of meaning from a ballad. Recorded at Rudy Vabn Gelder’s studio, the excellent sound is enhanced by Ray Staff’s mastering and the whisper quiet vinyl surfaces.

Another winner from Pure Pleasure, and one that belongs in any R&B lover’s collection.” Dennis Davis, Hi-Fi+, April 2015


“One of Esther Phillips finest '70s releases, From a Whisper to a Scream is the first of seven albums the singer recorded for CTI offshoot Kudu. Arranged and conducted by Pee Wee Ellis, the December 1971 session also involved principal players such as bassist Gordon Edwards, drummer Bernard Purdie, percussionist Airto, guitarists Cornell Dupree and Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, and saxophonists Hank Crawford and David Liebman. Setting the tone for Phillips' Kudu era, Whisper offers a series of spacious, yet fully arranged ballads of burning heartache, along with a handful of relatively funky numbers that do nothing to compromise her talent, dishing out loads of classy grit. It's a definite point of departure from the likes of Esther Phillips Sings and And I Love Him, her field of contemporaries closer to Al Green and Aretha Franklin than before. She grabs onto "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," Gil Scott-Heron's most harrowing rumination on drug dependency -- which, at that point, wasn't even a year old -- as if it were her very own, and it's all the more poignant given its parallels with her own life. (Its meaning was only compounded by her death in 1984.) Though there is absolutely nothing lacking in the album's more energetic moments, it's still the ballads that shine brightest, like the alternately fragile and explosive "From a Whisper to a Scream" (Allen Toussaint) and a staggering "Baby, I'm for Real" (Marvin and Anna Gordy, made popular by the Originals) so vulnerable yet commanding that it really should've closed the album.” AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman


Ratings :

AllMusic : 4 / 5 ; Discogs : 4.5 / 5 , Hi-Fi+ : Music 9/10, Recording 8/10

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