“ALWAYS IN THE MOOD.” Shirley Jones. Philadelphia International. “CLOSER THAN CLOSE.” Jean Carne. Omni. These two minor league purveyors of Philly Soul have made major comebacks onto the black charts after long absences.
Jones, whose sunny, shamelessly flirty tones are punctuated by the pounding gospel piano of Dexter Wansel on “Do You Get Enough Love?” is a particularly welcome re-entry. As one-third of the Jones Girls, a trio chosen by Diana Ross back in the mid-'70s as her concert backup singers, Jones always had an engaging manner with even the most lightweight material. Lightweight is the operative word for much of her solo album, save for “Do You Get . . . ?,” easily one of the silkiest, most charming soul singles of the year.
Carne, who recorded the 1978 mini-hit “Don’t Let It Go to Your Head” under the Philadelphia International banner, pours so much warm, throaty sensuality into the title track of her new album that it’s become the biggest hit of her career. Carne’s high notes come out of nowhere, and the polished alto sax of Grover Washington Jr. turns the cut into romantic soul music for grown-ups.
Elsewhere on the album, Carne goes the Patti LaBelle-style belter route, with less effective results. But such songs as “It Must Be Love,” on which she shares vocal space with barrel-chested newcomer Booker T. Newberry III, and the relaxed “Lucky Charm” are easier-on-the-ears testimony to her vocal flair.