Few people remember Laura Branigan's first hit single, "All Night With Me." It reached #60 a few months before the career-establishing megasmash "Gloria" hit the airwaves and shot to #2. That first hit has been so forgotten, in fact, that both Branigan's U.S. hits collections ("The Best of Branigan" and "Essentials") completely ignore the tune. Happily, this UK compilation presents the song, along with most of Branigan's other Hot 100 entries. "All Night With Me" is a great record, and it's a real treat that it has finally been remastered and presented on a hits CD.
With that said, this is THE Laura Branigan collection to own. The hits everyone knows are here ("Gloria," "Solitaire" and "Self Control"), along with smaller but solid hits like "The Lucky One," "Power of Love" and "Spanish Eddie." And of course, Branigan's #1 smash "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" from 1983 is here. And all these hits sound crisp and layered with the superb mastering job provided by Heathmans Studios.
There are a few head-scratchers, of course. Where is the hit "Hold Me"? Granted, it hit low in the Hot 100, but it was a hit and is a sexy, vibrant record. Instead of this song, or the single "Cry Wolf," listeners get two rather negligible ballads ("If You Loved Me" and "Lovin' You Baby") from Branigan's 1982 debut album and "Silent Partners," an okay song from Branigan's 1984 album. These tracks' inclusion is extra annoying, because all the material from Branigan's splendid and thoughtful 1993 "Over My Head" album is ignored.
Still, this is the very best Laura Branigan hits collection that has ever been available. The lovely, late vocalist sounds astonishing on every song, especially "Solitaire" (what a range!!!). Let's hope that someday a record label (read: Rhino) will make a two-CD collection of her work that includes all the hits, rare tracks and choice album tracks, like "Shadow of Love," one of Branigan's best recorded performaces.