b. Shirley Brown, 6th January 1947, West Memphis, Arkansas, U.S.A.
From Arkansas, Shirley Brown is, probably, best remembered for her single 'Woman to Woman' which was released in 1974, and (unsuccessfully) nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975.
When she was a child, Shirley's family relocated to East St. Louis, Illinois, where he began to sing in a Baptist church at the age of 10.
Having focused mainly on spiritual performances, she began to concentrate more on secular music and sang with many of St Louis's local Soul singers.
Shirley met Oliver Sain, who helped her record some songs for the ABET imprint including 'I Ain't Gonna Tell' and 'Love is Built on a Strong Foundation'.
Her performances came to the attention of Albert King, who later became her manager.
Albert had spent several years working on the St. Louis nightclub circuit prior to recording the Jim Stewart / Al Jackson produced 'Woman To Woman', with Shirley, for the Stax subsidiary, Truth, in 1974.
Written by the songwriting team of Homer Banks and Henderson Thigpen, the song encapsulated the 'cheating' genre of Soul Music.
The song not only became a massive hit in its own right, it inspired several 'answer' songs in the process, amongst which Millie Jackson's 'Still Caught Up' is a good example.
woman to woman 1974
'Woman To Woman' was the last hit for the Stax label and its success delayed its bankruptcy for several months.
Shirley relocated to the Arista imprint, and was one of the first signings by Clive Davis.
Recently, Shirley said, of those days, 'At Arista, Clive Davis wanted me to do a Bette Midler song or something like Barbra Streisand. I could probably sing those kinds of songs, but I didn't feel them'.
shirley brown (1977) / for the real feeling (1979)
Shirley had further R & B hits with 'It Ain't No Fun' (1975) and 'Blessed Is The Woman (With A Man Like Mine)' (1977), and continued her recording career into the millennium recording with the Malaco subsidiary Dome.
A couple of seven inch 45's were recorded in the mid eighties.
Both released in 1986, 'Shootin' a Blank was recorded for the Chelsea Avenue Records imprint, whilst 'If This Is Goodbye' b/w 'After Tonight', for a small independent label called Black Diamond.
intimate storm (1984) / fire and ice (1989)
Two years earlier, Shirley had released, probably, one of her finest albums for Sound Town, the Homer Banks produced, 'Intimate Storm'.
The album included the popular songs 'Boyfriend', 'Looking For The Real Thing' and the infectious 'This Used To Be Your House'.
In 1989, four years after her 1984 album, Shirley recorded, 'Fire & Ice', which reached number 66 on the U.S. R & B charts.
timeless (1991) / diva of soul (1995)
She continued to release material, including 'Timeless' (1991) and 'Diva of Soul' in recent years.
'Timeless' made number 63 on the U.S. R & B charts, whilst 'Diva of Soul' (1995) made number 67 on the U.S. R&B charts.
the soul of a woman (1997) / three way love affair (1998)
Her most recent material includes 'The Soul of a Woman' (1997) and 'Three Way Love Affair' (1998).
holding my own (2000) / woman enough (2004)
The new Millennium saw the abums 'Holding My Own' (2000), 'Woman Enough' (2004) and, a new album 'Unleashed' (2009).
Shirley Brown is often favourably compared to the Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
This is considered a completely worthy comparison within Soul circles.
Her voice deserves a much wider audience.
Woman To Woman (Truth Records 1974)
Shirley Brown (Arista Records 1977)
For The Real Feeling (Stax Records 1979)
Intimate Storm (Sound Town Records 1985)
Fire And Ice (Malaco Records 1989)
Joy And Pain (Malaco Records 1993)
Diva Of Soul (Malaco Records 1995)
The Soul Of A Woman (Malaco Records 1997)
Three Way Love Affair (Malaco Records 1998)
Holding My Own (Malaco Records 2000)
Woman Enough (Malaco 2004)
Unleashed (Malaco Records 2009)