The third and most adventurous double-disc Patti LaBelle compilation released within the several previous years, following 2004's Philadelphia International-centric Anthology
(released through The Right Stuff) and 2005's wide-ranging Gold
(Hip-O), The Essential Patti LaBelle
features a surprising amount of '70s material, a fair portion of which comes from her often overlooked work with the group LaBelle (who just happened to be prepping a new album at the time of this set's release). A fifth of the material here comes from the LaBelle albums Moon Shadow
, Pressure Cookin'
, and Chameleon
, and it helps prove that there was much more to them than the proto-disco classic "Lady Marmalade" (included here). The set spans nearly four decades, from an alternate version of 1962's "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" (with the Bluebelles
) through 1997's Jam & Lewis-produced "When You Talk About Love." There's some previously unreleased material as well, including a Gamble & Huff
-produced "Mean Ol' Man's World" and a disco mix of Released
's "Release (The Tension)." Most of the major hits are here, solo and otherwise, including the Black Singles/R&B Top Ten hits "What Can I Do for You?," "If Only You Knew," "New Attitude," and the Michael McDonald
duet "On My Own."