Personnel: Elton John (vocals, keyboards); Tony Bell (guitar, background vocals); Bobby Eli (guitar); Thom Bell (keyboards, background vocals); Casey James (synthesizer, background vocals); MFSB (strings, horns); Bob Babbit (bass); Charles Collins (drums); Larry Washington (percussion); Bill Lamb, Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson, Evette Benton, The Spinners (background vocals).
Recorded at Kay Smith Studio, Seattle, Washington and Sigma Sound Studio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Digitally transferred from original masters by Doug Schwartz at the MCA Studios, Glendale, California.
This is a collection of all the songs Elton John recorded with R&B legend Thom Bell. Three of the tracks were released in 1979 as a "Disco 12 Inch." The remaining three are released here for the first time anywhere.
In the fall of 1977, disco was in the air and Elton John was in a Philadelphia studio cutting some sessions with producer Thom Bell. In Spectoresque fashion, Bell filled the recording booths with an army of musicians, including The Spinners on background vocals and MFSB handling horns and strings. Originally released as a three-song 12-inch single, THE COMPLETE THOM BELL SESSIONS was reissued on CD with three previously unreleased songs.
Much like the irresistible Top 10 hit "Mama Can't Buy You Love" (found on the original release), newer additions to the CD release such as "Nice And Slow" and "Country Love Song" are awash in Bell's trademark lush production. Unlike other artists of the time who had no business dabbling with dance music, John had a musical malleability and love of R&B that made for a perfect match with Bell's Philly soul style. Under the producer's steady hand, John's singing is silky smooth on "Three Way Love Affair," and effortless on the eight-minute- plus "Are You Ready For Love." Most importantly, Bell taught the Englishman how to breathe properly while singing, adding another dimension to John's extraordinary talents.