Genre: Jazz
Label: GRP
Size: 12"
Format: 33RPM,


Marlena Shaw The Spice of Life LP

Marlena Shaw

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TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the April 2019 Issue of The Absolute Sound!

Swinging '60s Vocals On Vinyl LP!
Featuring "California Soul"!

The second album from Marlena Shaw, The Spice of Life, would be her last studio album with Cadet Records. The album contains her famous version of the Ashford & Simpson song "California Soul".

"She applies silk and satin to soul ballads. She swings when the band is cooking. She can be uninhibited but a well-disciplined shouter when she's working with a hymn like 'I Wish I Knew'. She is a spontaneous adlibber, and 'Stormy Monday' has proof of it. She has a musician's knowledge of harmony, and it is well-displayed on pieces like 'Liberation Conversation', written by Marlena in collaboration with the brilliant and talented Bobby Miller. Marlena is the kind of performer you count on the fingers with names like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Aretha Franklin and Sarah Vaughan. Not a bad club to belong to... The sympathetic and imaginative scorings from Richard Evans and Charles Stepney used here indicate that both arrangers believe in Marlena Shaw. They provide the tasty and swinging settings for the spice the lady deserves. I believe in Marlena Shaw. Line up, converts!" - from the liner notes by Loonis McGlohan, WBT Radio, Charlotte, NC

"Marlena Shaw's penchant for stylistic variety is certainly evident on this, her sophomore release. Cut for the Cadet label in 1969, Spice of Life ranges from soul and proto-funk to jazz and MOR-hued material. Shaw shines throughout, showing her power on politically charged, Aretha-styled cuts like 'Woman of the Ghetto' and 'Liberation Conversation,' while also delivering supple interpretations of such traditional jazz fare as 'Go Away Little Boy' (shades of Nancy Wilson). And with a gutsy take on 'Stormy Monday,' it's clear Shaw doesn't shrink from the blues either. Across this sound spectrum, arrangers Richard Evans and Charles Stepney envelope Shaw in unobtrusive yet exciting pop-soul environs, throwing kalimba runs (a few years before Earth, Wind & Fire picked up on the instrument), psych guitar accents, and bongo-fueled organ riffs into the mix. Their widescreen touch is particularly well essayed on strings-and-brass standouts like the Bacharach-inspired Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil composition 'Looking Through the Eyes of Love' and Ashford & Simpson's 'California Soul' (a classic reading heavily favored by the crate-digging set). A perfect way to get familiar with Shaw's impressive early work." - AllMusic

" of the most sought-after Cadet records from (the late 60s and early 70s)... Throughout the record Shaw moves across soul, jazz, gospel, rock, and blues arrangements with an unwavering tenacity... Hold out to find an original in the wild if you must, but this is no sonic disappointment." - Pam Torno, The Absolute Sound, April 2019

• Vinyl LP

Side 1:

1. Woman Of The Ghetto
2. Call It Stormy Monday
3. Where Can I Go?
4. I'm Satisfied
5. I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)
Side 2:
1. Liberation Conversation
2. California Soul
3. Go Away, Little Boy
4. Looking Thru The Eyes Of Love
5. Anyone Can Move A Mountain

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