Johnny Mathis The Heart of a Woman/Feelings (2-CD Set)
During the 1974 holiday season, Johnny Mathis could be heard at cosmetics counters nationwide. His song “The Heart of a Woman” was the theme for Helena Rubinstein’s Courant perfume and the title track of his latest LP. Now, The Heart of a Woman is finally coming to standalone CD in a deluxe, double-disc expanded edition from Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records, paired with 1975’s Feelings. The Heart of a Woman was more than a perfume tie-in, however. Johnny teamed with Motown’s legendary producer Johnny Bristol and arranger Paul Rise—plus session players like Dennis Coffey and Ray Parker, Jr.—for a set filled with Bristol originals which would inspire subsequent recordings from artists such as Boz Scaggs and Tom Jones. In addition to the title tune by Broadway’s Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (Bye Bye Birdie), the album also features a sensual cover of the Roberta Flack chart-topper “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and perhaps surprisingly, Johnny’s rendition of “Wendy” from the blaxploitation film Three the Hard Way! Feelings, produced by Jack Gold, notably introduced Mathis’ evocative version of Albert Hammond and Hal David’s “99 Miles from L.A.,” a song which the vocalist still performs in concert today. It also boasts David and Henry Mancini’s “The Greatest Gift” from The Return of the Pink Panther, and smooth interpretations of the standout ballad “What Did for Love” from A Chorus Line, Melissa Manchester’s enchanting “Midnight Blue,” and Neil Sedaka’s “Solitaire.” Nine fascinating period bonus tracks are included on this 2-CD set including two tracks produced by composer Roger Nichols and a rare session reuniting Johnny with producer-songwriter Jerry Fuller. Joe Marchese’s new liner notes draw on interviews with Mathis and Fuller, and Mike Piacentini has remastered at Sony’s Battery Studios. This set of amorous favorites from The Voice of Romance promises to go straight to the Heart.