It’s International Women’s Day and I thought i’d mention one of the most underrated female Canadian artists of all time, Lubomyra Kowalchyk – Also known as Luba.

Outside of Canada Luba is primarily known for her works on the “9 ½ Weeks” film soundtrack, namely “Let It Go” and “The Best Is Yet To Come”. But she has had numerous hit singles in Canada from January 1983 to May 2000, including “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “Giving Away A Miracle”,  “How Many (Rivers To Cross)”, “Little Salvation”, “Storm Before The Calm”, “Everytime I See Your Picture” and “Innocent (with an explanation)”. 

From 1985 to 1990 she was nominated for 11 Juno Awards, winning three consecutive Juno Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year from 1985 to 1987 and a Juno Award for Best Video in 1986 for “How Many (Rivers to Cross)“.

She also won two Casby Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1986 and 1987, a Félix award for Dance Record of The Year for “Let It Go” and a Black Music Association Award for Female Entertainer of the Year. And she also  received two gold singles, four gold albums and three platinum albums from the Canadian Recording Industry Association for physical album sales in Canada from February 1985 to November 1991, which includes a platinum award for “Over 60 Minutes With“, one of the first compact discs I had purchased in the late 80’s.

This 16 track greatest hits compilation featured all of my favourite tracks from her previous two Capital/EMI Music Canada albums and both “The Best Is Yet To Come” and cover of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” so it had become one of my favourite albums from the period. 

Her subsequent Capital/EMI Music Canada album, 1989’s “All Or Nothing“, also had a few great tracks, mainly her singles from the album (“Giving Away A Miracle”, “Little Salvation” and “No More Words”). But this was her last studio album release for a decade, other that the 1995 re-release of “Chain Reaction“, her pop rock debut from 1980.

This re-release has some good tracks, my favourites tracks being “I Stand Alone” and “Seems Like A Dream” (which reminds me of Pat Benatar’s recordings from the early 80’s).  But I preferred her next release, 2000’s “From The Bitter To The Sweet“, which was released on an indie label and included “Is She A lot Like Me”, “Let Me Be The One”, “Sorry” and title track.

Unfortunately of all of her albums only two remain in print on compact disc, “Chain Reaction” and “Icon“, a 12 track greatest hits package that was released in 2014 by Universal Music Canada. But these can be downloaded legally from iTunes Canada and Google Play or streamed legally from Apple Music and Spotify, although it should be noted that Luba’s official web site claims the “Ten Best” release available on Google Play and Spotify is unauthorized and should not be purchased or streamed.

Personally, if I would choose 20 of my very favourite Luba tracks from the Spotify catalog i’d choose the ones i’ve compiled in this Spotify Playlist, adding a few more tracks from her “From The Bitter To The Sweet” album to complete the collection. But if you have a chance to buy her albums on compact disc or vinyl, I highly recommend it.