Black Butterfly: The Essential Niecy

Black Butterfly: The Essential Niecy

by Deniece Williams


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Until 2016, Gonna Take a Miracle: The Best of Deniece Williams was the only decent Deniece Williams anthology. Issued in 1996, it left out a few of the singer's Top Ten R&B hits -- an example of how the capacity of a single compact disc can shortchange an artist's legacy. The U.K.'s BBR label has solved this problem with the two-disc Black Butterfly: The Essential Niecy. BBR previously expanded and reissued Williams' first seven solo albums, and they lengthen their reach here by choosing highlights from her duet work with Johnny Mathis and her latter '80s releases. Although it begins with "Free," Williams' stunning solo breakout from 1976, the sequencing emphasizes flow rather than chronology, and presents a narrative that is nonlinear yet easy to follow. All 27 of Williams' immaculately voiced singles that touched the Billboard R&B chart during a 14-year period are featured (often as single versions). They make an incontrovertible case for her as a distinctive top-tier pop-soul artist of the late '70s and '80s, whether she was working with Maurice White and Charles Stepney, David Foster, Thom Bell, or George Duke. For those familiar only with the hits, the eight deep album cuts -- highlighted by the delightful "The Boy I Left Behind," the sneak-attack outsize ballad "Why Can't We Fall in Love," and gospel phase precursor "God Is Amazing" -- provide a fuller picture. There's also Williams and Mathis' version of "Without Us," the Family Ties theme. True to BBR form, the booklet is substantial and informative, featuring a forward from Mathis and an interview with Williams. It all does justice to a rich body of work, one that has been undervalued by less serious R&B listeners and rock-oriented music historians, perhaps due in part to the singer's presence on small and big screens. Don't be misled.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/09/2016
Label: Imports
UPC: 5013929065536
catalogNumber: 5052430
Rank: 3688

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Deniece Williams   Primary Artist
Gene Page   Conductor
Thom Bell   Conductor
Bill Neale   Conductor

Technical Credits

Deniece Williams   Composer,Producer
Johnny Mathis   Duet
Curtis Mayfield   Composer
Maurice White   Producer
Ron Boustead   Composer
George Duke   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Gregg Karukas   Composer
Jeremy Lubbock   Composer
Greg Mathieson   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Tom Scott   Composer
Jeff Lorber   Additional Production
David Foster   Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Carole Bayer Sager   Composer
Barry Mann   Composer
Gene Page   Arranger,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Tom Snow   Composer
Teddy Randazzo   Composer
Larkin Arnold   Executive Producer
Nick Ashford   Composer
Jeff Barry   Composer
Thom Bell   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Denny Diante   Producer
Eric Eisner   Composer
Bobby Eli   Composer
Preston Glass   Composer
Jack Gold   Producer
Paul Gordon   Composer
Lani Groves   Composer
Jerry Hey   Horn Arrangements
Michael Hutchinson   Engineer
Michael Jeffries   Composer
Keg Johnson   Composer
Steve Levine   Producer
Clarence McDonald   Composer
Monte Moir   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Bill Neale   Arranger,Producer
Ray Parker   Producer
Jerry Peters   Arranger,Producer
Dean Pitchford   Composer
Dave Raynor   Composer
Hank Redd   Composer
Sylvester Rivers   rhythm arrangement
Louis Silas   Remixing
Valerie Simpson   Composer
Charles Stepney   Arranger,Producer
Tom Tom 84   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Diane Warren   Composer
Cynthia Weil   Composer
Verdine White   Composer
Fritz Baskett   Composer
Brad Westering   Producer,Executive Producer,Remixing
Susaye Greene   Composer
John Vallins   Composer
Nathan Watts   Composer
Vinnie Barrett   Composer
Lou Stallman   Composer
Michael Boyd   Composer
Cheyenne Fowler   Composer
Roger Nichols   Composer
Nat Kipner   Composer
Alan Glass   Composer
Skylark   Composer
Robert Wright   Composer
Michel Columbier   Arranger
Bobby Weinstein   Composer
Christian John Wikane   Liner Notes,Interviewer
Carole Pinckes   Composer
Jay Grusko   Arranger,Producer
Jon Mat   Producer

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