Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Marlena Shaw - Who Is This Bitch, Anyway? (1975)

How's that for a sassy title and cover photo?

One of the first songs I purchased on iTunes ten years ago was Shaw's cover of California Soul. There are times when I'll listen to that song on repeat for an half hour - always improves my mood. Shaw also had a disco phase, which deserved more attention than it got. But when Dr. Smooth introduced me to the wonderful song Loving You Was Like A Party through his Flashback #3 on Mixcloud, I decided to go all in and pick up a copy of this Blue Note CD, my first full-length Shaw purchase.  Not my last, I'm sure.

Supported by a great group of L.A. session musicians including Chuck Rainey, Harvey Mason, and Larry Carlton, Shaw gives us a great collection of  what I'll categorize today as feminist soul music - a term certainly befitting the album's title.  It's a concept album, and a good one at that, which means it benefits from a top-to-bottom listening. Always going down smooth, this is one of those albums that I wish I'd bought many years earlier than I did.  It should have had more legs, but I'm sure Blue Note didn't have the promotion budget it needed.  Still, according to this interview, the album has had staying power, particularly in Japan.

liner notes

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #159
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #8
Peak on Billboard's RB albums chart: #47
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #147

Billboard, March 8, 1975

Tracks:  Not a track to be skipped.  My favorite is still Loving You Was Like A Party, but there's plenty of good stuff here, including Davy, You, and a cover of Feel Like Makin' Love.  One of the biggest surprises is Shaw belting out a gospel tune that she wrote, The Lord Giveth And The Lord Taketh Away.  Sadly, it's barely given a minute of attention on the album (maybe because it doesn't really fit with all the other smooth soul music here?).

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  see above

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