FAME Review: Shirley Brown - Woman to Woman
Shirley Brown - Woman to Woman

Woman to Woman

Shirley Brown

Stax Remasters - STX-33177-2

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This powerful voiced East St. Louis raised woman was discovered, and came to Stax records via the great Albert King who found her when she was 14 years old. She toured with him as an opening act for his shows, and then provided backup vocals during his show. Her first single; Woman to Woman, sold one million copies for her in the initial eight weeks of release in 1974. She has that powerful voice that sounds as if it was trained in the church, many times she emulates the sound of Aretha Franklin and oft times when doing one of Ms Franklin's tunes you would have to look to see who was singing (there are five bonus tracks on this disc and three are Aretha songs). On the first eleven songs we know the backing band was Al Jackson Jr. on drums, Bobby Manuel on guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass Marvell Thomas on piano, Lester Snell on organ along with the Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson; trumpet, Andrew Love; saxophones). On the last 4 cuts that came from a box marked demo we don't know for sure who is in the backing band.

The original album is here in its entirety, including her million seller hit song and the other songs she did while at Stax, none of which made much of a dent on the charts. Not that they weren't quality songs just that Stax couldn't/didn't give her the publicity she deserved and needed. As you can hear from the opening notes this woman can sing; she reaches deep down and touches those places in the soul that few singers can touch…just listen to the emotions she is capable of bringing up on almost every cut. What she does on the final 4 bonus cuts are just the penultimate of soul as characterized in the 60s and 70s where the voice of the singer created the emotions. Listen to her version of Respect, and yes it owes a tremendous debt to Aretha, but she has the voice and chops to pull it off. That this singer never received her due is a heinous crime; don't compound it by missing out on this disc. Hooray to Concord Group for re-mastering this one.

Track List:

  • It Ain't No Fun
  • Long As You Love Me
  • Stay With Me Baby
  • I've Got To Go On Without You
  • Woman To Woman
  • So Glad To Have You
  • Passion
  • I Can't Give You Up
  • I Need You Tonight
  • Between You And Me
  • Yes Sir Brother
  • Ain't No Way
  • Respect
  • Rock Steady
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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