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SHIRLEY BROWN Part 3 (1989-2008)

Shirley Brown the Part 1 (1972-75)
Shirley Brown Part 2 (1976-89)
Complete Shirley Brown Discography

  In 1989 Shirley had released an appealing soul ballad called If This Is Goodbye on the Black Diamond label.  The song came from Jim Stewart’s and Bobby Manuel’s Black Diamond Productions, and it led to a production deal with Malaco for Shirley’s next four and a half albums.

  Gerald “Wolf” Stephenson, Vice President at Malaco: “First time I met Shirley would have been just in passing at a Blues Award function in Memphis.  It was several years before she came to our label.  She did a couple of songs that night and I enjoyed her performance.  It was spectacular.  When she first came to the label, she was working with a couple of producers out of Memphis, and basically they sent us finished product for us to get ready for manufacturing.”


  The first single off the upcoming album in the fall of 1989 was a soulful beat ballad, equipped with a hooky chorus, titled Ain’t Nothin’ like the Lovin’ We Got, written by Brenda Lee Eager and Billy Osborne.  Billy, a musician/writer/producer, used to be a member of L.T.D. and he’s Jeffrey Osborne’s brother.  Brenda is best known for her gold duet with Jerry Butler in 1971 on Ain’t Understanding MellowAin’t Nothin’ like the Lovin’ We Got was produced by Shirley, Jim Stewart and an ex-Bar-Kay member, Winston Stewart, and it was a duet with Bobby Womack.

  One of the co-producers was Bobby Manuel, although he’s not credited.  Bobby: “Shirley just wanted to do some duets with him.  That was becoming popular.  And the song was a pretty good song, but when they really started trying to out-sing each other, especially on the fade-out, the melody got lost.  There really wasn’t much control in that situation.  I know I was very unhappy with the vocal performances on it.  I wish we could have done some other stuff and add a little more input.  I know Bobby wanted to do mainly songs he was comfortable with, but anyway it was an opportunity.  I just think it could have been done much better.”  The song peaked at # 46 on Billboard’s Hot Black Singles chart, and it was backed with If This Is Good-bye again.

  The first Malaco album in 1989 was entitled Fire & Ice (# 66-black), and it had the same producers as the first single.  It was cut at Black Diamond in Memphis, and the music programming was done by Winston Stewart.  Engineers were William Brown III and Bobby Manuel.  The second single, which missed the charts altogether, was Shirley’s and Winston’s beat ballad called Take Me to Your Heart, and it was coupled with a mid-tempo, big-voiced toe-tapper named King Size Love.

  The opening track on the album, What ‘Cha Gonna’ Do When the Money runs Out, is an average, programmed beater composed by Nick Trevisick and Reed Verteiney, two notable songwriters/musicians/producers/arrangers.  On Stevie Wonder’s rocker Tell Me Something Good - a gold record for Rufus in 1974 - Shirley even sounds like Chaka Khan.  Bobby: “I liked the album okay.  I wasn’t sure of the directions.  I think Jim was wanting to take her a little more slick, make her a little more mainstream, but to me she was just kind of leaving the rhythm & blues roots and I wasn’t sure that was a good thing, but they were trying to sell records.  They just went too far for my taste, and Jim didn’t want to use original instruments and stuff like that.  I think Aretha and a couple of other people had just crossed over, had used machines, and that’s what they were trying to do to sell more records.  I understood that, but I think at the same time Shirley didn’t feel it.  That’s not where she came from.  That wasn’t one of our shining moments to me.”


  Silent Treatment by Homer Banks, Lester Snell and Winston Stewart was a pleasant, melodic mid-pacer, while another Banks-Snell tune, Sowed to the Wind, was an impressive and intense soul ballad and arguably the best track on the album.  Lester plays grand piano along with Marvell Thomas on the set.  Lester: “I was working with Homer Banks at the time, and, as we were doing the project for Black Diamond, Shirley had come and asked for a song for the album, and so we came up with Silent Treatment and with another one, Sowed to the Wind.  At the time we had offices in the same building as Black Diamond, so that was like across the hall.  They said ‘hey, we’re cutting Shirley, do you guys have anything for her’.  So we went in, got to writing and asked Shirley what she thought about it.  She liked it, so they recorded it.”

  The gentle I Wonder Where the Love Has Gone, written by George Jackson, was another goodie, and as the concluding song they had the Bar-Kays’ Anticipation, a restrained and mellow ballad, which the group had cut first for their Propositions album in 1982.  Fortunately, on the album the good and “traditional Shirley” tracks outnumber the more progressive ones, so the outcome remains positive.  Larry Nix did the mastering.  Larry: “I did all of her Malaco albums, when she went over to Bobby Manuel.  When he and Jim took over producing and recorded her, I did those albums, and I did the ones for Malaco up until Malaco got their own mastering facilities.  I’m not sure at what point Malaco began doing their own mastering.  I helped to get a mastering facility over there and told them how to use it.  At that time they had the Muscle Shoals Sound, and they took the engineer from there and made him their mastering engineer.”


  The same production formula is used on Shirley’s second Malaco album in 1991, Timeless (# 63-r&b).  The first single was a cover of Al Green’s number one song in 1972, Still in Love, originally titled I’m Still in Love with You.  Bobby: “It had a pretty good arrangement on it.  Lester did a pretty good job on it.  Of course, it’s hard to top Al.  The biggest problem I had with all of that was that we were using machines and I just wasn’t into that.  But, of course, that was what was happening.  I think Timeless was better than Fire & Ice, but it just wasn’t to me, for obvious reasons.”  Shirley and Winston wrote a dancer called Lovin’ Too Soon for the flip side.

  Lester Snell co-wrote with Homer Banks three of the songs on the album.  The bluesy Three Way Love Affair lists also Shirley as one of the writers, Time is a devoted deepie and If I Didn’t Love You is an uptempo toe-tapper.  The last two were released as the second single.  All three are quite different.  Lester: “At that point we were just mainly trying things, knowing that Shirley can sing anything… what would she do singing these types of songs, because her repertoire is so varied.  There’s nothing she really can’t sing.  Then you can experiment – try blues, uptempo… you’re not limited to what she can do.”

  Another song that Brenda Lee Eager co-wrote, this time with Robert Bowles, is a pretty and - to Shirley’s style, anyway - restrained ballad titled Let’s Make Love TonightI Feel Your Love Changing is a beat-ballad by Homer, Shirley and Winston.  Besides Still in Love, there are two other notable covers – an almost shrieky interpretation of Mitty Collier’s gospel-derived ’64 outing, I Had a Talk with My Man, and an Aretha Franklin influenced (’69) version of Bobby Bland’s ’64 original of Share Your Love.  Bobby: “I think Jim liked I Had a Talk with My Man, but I think Shirley actually brought it in, but that was always one of his favourite songs.  He and Shirley also liked Share Your Love with Me.  Shirley hadn’t really started writing, so we were looking for some songs, and that’s why we were doing so many covers.”


  The first Malaco album was called Fire & Ice, and the third one was titled Joy & Pain.  Those days Shirley used to have an album released in every two years, so logically Joy & Pain came out in 1993.  Again it was produced by the old gang of Shirley, Winston and Bobby for Black Diamond Productions, but this time also Frederick Knight is credited as a producer and a writer on three tracks. 

  Frederick: “When Malaco signed her, they came to me and asked me would I produce songs on her.  So I told them I would.  I like to write and produce my songs, because I get a better feel for what I’m doing than a lot of the outside producers.”

  Frederick and Shirley wrote together the title tune, a slow and bittersweet soul ballad, and Frederick wrote alone for Shirley an impressive, gospelly deepie (and the single release) named Hearts Are Made to Be Loved and a care-free toe-tapper called It’s a Pleasure Easin’ Your Pain.  Frederick: “Shirley is a very talented song-writer in her own right, and she kind of knows what she wants to do.  She normally just gives those ideas to me, and I construct the music around.  When we get into the lyrics, we bounce back and forth from each other.”

  Those three songs were cut at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, and among the musicians you can spot such familiar names as Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), Clayton Ivey (keyboards), Will McFarlane (lead guitar) and Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), along with the Muscle Shoals Sound Horns.  One of the engineers was Wolf Stephenson.  Wolf: “At that time I got to work with her in the recording session.  Before that I had just admired her talent from afar.  I worked with Frederick on some of the tracks.”


  On three of the seven “Black Diamond tracks”, there’s a co-writer by the name of John Ward (on the pic above), the director of Ecko Records these days.  John: “I have not worked with Shirley Brown for a long time but I would like to again and I hope I get the opportunity to do so.  I met Shirley the first time in about 1991 or 1992, when I was writing for Malaco.  I think Wolf Stephenson at Malaco told me she was getting songs together for her new album and gave me her number to call her.  After I had spoken with her, I brought some songs on a cassette tape up here to the studio, which is now Ecko Records offices and studio.  It was Jim Stewart’s and Bobby Manuel’s studio at that time.  I gave that tape to Jim and Bobby to give to Shirley.  Soon after, Shirley called me and we began to get together for little writing sessions.  We would get together at her house to write.  At the time Earl Randle and I were writing together pretty frequently, so we all three started to get together at Shirley’s house.”

  The first of the three songs on the set, Take It like a Woman, is a swaying ballad.  John: “Take It like a Woman was one of the songs on that first tape I gave her.  I had written that in Nashville with a friend of mine that I was writing with a lot named Tommy Polk, and his good friend, Johnny Neel.  Johnny Neel, of course, was a very well-known writer in Nashville then.  He had been they keyboard player for several years before that for the Allman Brothers Band.”

  You Know What You’re Gettin’ At Home is an easily flowing mid-tempo bouncer.  John: “That song I and Earl had written at his house.  I guess Shirley must have added something to it later, because we had pretty much completed it when I gave it to her.”

  A Two-Way Thang is a somewhat gloomy “bluesoul” number.  John: “We all three wrote it together at Shirley’s house.  I remember Shirley was talking about how good Three Way Love Affair had been doing for her.  That was a big song at the time, and Shirley was just saying she would like to write an answer to it or something.  We were just sitting around her kitchen table talking about it.  Then I remember Earl just starting to sing the line ‘I’m gonna make this three-way a two-way thing’.  After that we went to her piano in the living room and started to work on it.”

  A moaning blues called You’re Gonna Make Me Cry we all know by O.V. Wright (on Back Beat in ’65), and Earl Randle’s ‘Bout to Make Me Leave Home is punchy alright but not as funky as Syl Johnson’s Hi single in 1976.  Bettye Crutcher’s catchy toe-tapper titled Long on Lovin’ Shirley had first cut for her Arista album in ’77, which leaves us with a big-voiced, fine soul ballad called It Don’t Hurt like It Used To, written by Shirley and Winston.  Bobby: “Some of those are good.  I think that maybe Frederick got her singing too high, but he did well.  I think Malaco was wanting to try to get back to some roots of her, so they wanted to try other producers at that time.  I think Frederick did okay.”  In the sleeve-notes Shirley says her “farewell to Albert King, Benjamin Gardner and Bobby McClure”, who all had passed recently.


  In the U.K. in 1993 on a compilation called Soul’d Together, vol.3 (About Time, AT CD-017) we were introduced to a fine soul ballad from Shirley titled I Knew I Could Always Count On You.  Mr. Mike Ward: “I know the track was and is superb.  I originally got it from an old friend, Jim Stewart.  There were two tracks on the cassette.  I think as a favour Shirley was just demoing two songs.  I contacted Stewart Madison at Malaco, who said ok.  Contractually, however, he never followed through by sending back my contracts, and in the meantime we had included it on the album.  I don’t think they owned it, Jim did.”  A year later Shirley cut one track called I’m Gonna Stop You from Givin’ Me the Blues for a tribute CD to Z.Z. Hill titled Z.Zelebration (on Malaco 7474).

  Shirley’s fourth Malaco album, Diva of Soul (# 67-r&b), was released in 1995, and this time there are only two producers on the set – Shirley Brown and Bobby Manuel.  Bobby: “I believe that’s when Jim retired.  I think we went back to real musicians and real drums (Steve Potts).  I went back to real B-3 organ and things.  To me, of course, that’s what I like.  It’s my favourite record.  I think we just got back to where she was… and that record sold.”

  The CD opens with a catchy and loose mover titled You Ain’t Got to Hide Your Man.  John Ward: “again, me and Earl Randle wrote that, gave it to Shirley and she liked it a lot.”  Bobby: “I did that record on her right before Jim retired.”  If you’re Weak enough is a powerful, big-voiced deepie.  John: “That was originally written by Ollie Nightingale (Hoskins) and myself at my house.  Ollie had the title and I sat down at the piano and we worked it up.  I think I gave it to Shirley sort of incomplete and asked her to add some lyrics to it, which she did.  I really liked that song.  In fact, somewhere I have a tape of Ollie singing it.”  There are two more songs that John co-wrote.  John: (the uptempo) “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is and (the slow) Better You Go Your Way were both written at Shirley’s house with all three of us (Shirley, John and Earl) there around the piano.”


  Shirley wrote by herself two intense and pleading soul ballads, One More Time and Sprung on His Love, and Bobby became his composing partner on an average, programmed beater titled Good Loving Man but also on a thrilling slowie called You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man.  Bobby: “I am proud of You Ain’t Woman Enough.  That sold 50,000 in six weeks.  It’s one of the best records as far as the collaboration she and I did.  It’s a great record.  It was an answer to some rap song that was out there.  They were using Woman to Woman, so Malaco wanted an answer to that song.  I said ‘let us go and write a real song.  Give us time to write a decent song’.”  Amazingly, as a 7” vinyl single the song charted in May 1995 and reached # 80-r&b.

  Leftover Love is a machine-driven beat ballad written by Rich Cason, and the only cover this time is a slow delivery of Joe Seneca’s Talk to Me.  Bobby: “She may have wanted to do that.  Usually I wasn’t a big fan of covers.”  Shirley uses a monologue in the beginning, and really takes the song to church towards the end.

  With seven gorgeous ballads, Diva of Soul really is a magnificent album.  Bobby: “There was some magic on there.  We had a lot of freedom – Shirley and myself – and we felt free.  There weren’t co-producers or anybody else.  We just felt unrestricted, and I think it shows on that record.” 

  J. Blackfoot appears as one of the background singers on Shirley’s set, and next year also Shirley lent her voice to background purposes alongside Jackie Johnson and Jackie Reddick on Ann Peeble’s CD, Fill This World With Love (Bullseye Blues, BB 9564), which was cut at Black Diamond and which had Bobby Manuel as an engineer and mixing man on it.


  Again, they released Shirley’s next CD, The Soul of a Woman, two years later, in 1997, and this time it had three production units on it.  At the same time it also means that it’s not as consistent and magnificent as its predecessor.  At Bobby’s High Stacks Studios in Memphis, Shirley and Bobby cut six tracks and four of them they also wrote together.  One of the hits was a mid-tempo song called Why You Want to Love Me Like That.  Bobby: “That one I love.  I thought the groove on that record was serious.”  Female Player is an average jogger with even a short rap in the middle, whereas The Search Is Over is a soft mid-pacer with an almost acoustic backing, and taking the tempo down still more, You’re Never Gonna Find another Love like Mine is a floating, melodic ballad.

  Shirley and Bobby cut also Don’t Go Lookin’ for My Man - …”you just might find your husband” – a melodic ballad, written by Shirley, Homer Banks and Lester Snell, and it was chosen for a single release.  The last song on the CD is Dottie Rambo’s slow gospel tune named He Looked beyond My Faults, and here Shirley is backed by the Mississippi Mass Choir.  She writes in the liner notes that “this project is done in memory of my late son, Prentiss A. Brown.  The gospel song ‘He Looked beyond My Faults’ was his favourite song.  I was driven spiritually to do this in his honor.  I pray you will be blessed by it too.”

  The rest of the tracks were cut either at Malaco studios in Jackson, Mississippi, or at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama, and four of those tracks were produced and written by Rich Cason.  Bobby: “Malaco was wanting more control.  Rich Cason had had a big hit with Johnnie Taylor (Good Love), so they wanted to take that style and see what they could do with her.”  Rich’s contributions included The Power of a Woman, a mid-tempo beater with some strange nasty, squeaky machine voices on the background, and three decent ballads.  Who Is Betty is the most impressive one of the three.  It’s a great, dramatic deepie and it was cut in response to Jewell’s recently recorded version of Woman to WomanThe Last Time I Cry (Over a Man) is both melody-wise, and in interpretation almost as impressive – the only minus is those machines Rich uses - and I Caught You with Your Pants Down has Shirley doing a monologue in the middle.

  A mid-tempo funk item called You Left a Good Woman for a Good Time was written by Shirley and George Jackson and produced by Shirley together with the Malaco bosses, Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephenson.  Wolf: “We went in and recorded some material that we produced ourselves.  It was a lot of fun doing that.  Shirley is very demanding of herself and demanding that it be done right.  It’s refreshing to see someone that must be certain that their performance is as good as it can be.”

  “With Shirley it’s not really a question of going back and getting her to sing something properly.  It’s getting her to sing it the way that you all agree it should be delivered.  Everything she sings is just fantastic.  It’s just do you want this to be emphasized here or do you want to be a little softer on this – that’s the thing about working with her.  She’s just a superb talent.  That’s a plus, because that absolutely does not happen with every artist.  Some of them are better on stage than they are in studio, but Shirley’s a real professional both ways.”

Wolf Stephenson


  In 1998 Malaco released on their “601” imprint a compilation titled Three Way Love Affair, which had ten tracks culled from Shirley’s four previous albums.  Wolf: “The 601 label is a mid-price label, where we release mostly compilations and re-releases by same artist or the same type of music – songs to love by, blues, classics… 601 is our telephone area code, so that’s where we got the name from.”

  Shirley’s next fresh CD, Holding My Own, came out in 2000, and this time it has four production units on it with each producing three tracks.  Shirley and Seymour Rosenberg mostly use live musicians, while Frederick Knight and Rich Cason rely on programming.  Now the music is more contemporary, experimenting, and there are actually only two killer ballads on display.

  Shirley herself wrote both Sweet Lips, Big Hips, a thumping uptempo number, and a beat ballad called Cold Turkey, while a soulful slowie titled The Best Woman was donated to her by Denise LaSalle.

  Seymour Rosenberg was actually Shirley’s attorney.  Wolf: “That’s correct, and he’s from Memphis.  They did several cuts and brought them to us in finished form.”  Sy used Delta Sounds Studios in West Memphis, Arkansas, and there he cut Shirley on an uptempo pop/rock song from the late 70s called Is There a Lover in the House, and two other covers, If I Were Your Woman and When a Woman Loves a Man.  They came out okay, but Gladys Knight and – from a woman’s perspective – Esther Phillips are too tough acts to follow this time.  Larry Nix: “Sy was her lawyer and someway tried to produce stuff on her.  He brought it over to me to hear, but it wasn’t very good, and I told him that.”

  For this album, too, Rich Cason created a couple of beautiful melodies.  Wrapped up in Your Love, which he composed together with Zuri, is still a mediocre, slow thumper, but both How Close We Came – one of those killer cuts - and Sticking by My Man are easily flowing, touching ballads.

Keisa Brown


  Frederick Knight wrote for the project three new songs, which he also produced.  If You Keep Using My Love is a repetitive, hammering beater, whereas Walking or Crawling is a jazzy, acoustic slowie.  Frederick: “That was a song that I had recorded earlier on Keisa Brown.”  The song first appeared on the Keisa album on Park Place 1744 (in 1988).  “It’s been really rough two years.  My wife was ill, and I had a lot of deaths in the family.  It’s really difficult dealing with all of that and trying to stay creative.  Keisa had cancer as well.  When she found out that my wife was ill, she flew from Istanbul to Jackson to stay with us for one night, just so she could console my wife.  Keisa was like part of my family.  I named my daughter after her.  Keisa was like my sister.  That was a terrible loss.”  Keisa passed away on November 18 in 2006 at the age of 56.

  A sacred song - and the other gem on the CD - called Through the Storm closes the set, and here Shirley is again backed by the Mississippi Mass Choir.  Frederick: “Shirley’s son had passed, and she asked me if I would write a song particularly for that, and that is the song I wrote.  It was a song about her son and about what she was feeling and how she was going to deal with that.  We’re getting a lot of requests for that song now.  I put it on a gospel compilation.  Everybody loves that song.”

  In late 2003 Shirley appeared as a guest vocalist on the the Bar-Kays’ CD, The Real Thing (on JEA/Right Now 74017), where she delivered an intense ballad named We Can’t Stay Together (by Dodson-Summers-Thigpen)The track was re-released on the group’s next CD, House Party, in early 2007.


  For her next CD, Woman Enough, in 2004 Shirley teamed up with Lester Snell again, and together they produced and wrote four tracks out of the eleven on the set.  They were cut at Donum Dei Studio in Memphis, and the trumpet player is the very same Mr. Seymour Rosenberg from the previous CD.  Lester: “There are a couple of songs on there that I like.  We had fun doing it.”

  The catchy and rollicking Poon Tang Man became a southern party hit.  Lester: “That was just mainly a funny tune.”  My Heart Can’t Take another Break is a slowly swaying ballad.  Lester: “oh yeah… I enjoyed that.  It’s always been fun working with Shirley.”  Hook, Line & Sinker is a mediocre mover with even a rock guitar solo added to it, but once more the last song on the CD, Miss Lizzie’s Daughter, leaves you in an emotional state of mind.  The song is a tender farewell to Shirley’s mother, who passed away on January 8 in 2003.  Lester: “That was one of those songs that just happened right away.  It just came out of nowhere, and it became a song instantly.  I was sitting at the piano playing something, she started singing and the next thing you know she’s talking about her mother… and it’s a good story.”

  Charles Richard Cason produced and wrote three songs, and of them Woman Enough! (Why Can’t You Be Man enough), a thrilling soul ballad, stands above the others (Think Again and I’m So Fed Up).  Frederick Knight penned and produced two, and they both were released as singles.  The first one (I’ve Got to) Sleep With One Eye Open - …”cause this man won’t leave me alone” – is a beat ballad with a touch of blues to it, and it was followed by a slow-to-mid-tempo lilter titled Too Much Candy.  Frederick: “One Eye Open was more popular.”

  Customarily Wolf Stephenson and Tommy Couch used real live players on the two songs that they produced.  George Jackson’s (I’d Have to Be) Stuck on Stupid is a funky chugger, while Rue Davis’ and Harrison Calloway’s song, It’s Best We Say Goodbye, is a poignant ballad  and one of Wolf’s favourites.


  In 2006 Shirley did a duet with Willie Clayton on his Gifted CD (MCD 7259).  The song was an impressive soul ballad called Trust, and it was co-written by George Soule, who had cut it on himself, too.  Wolf: “That song just popped up right at the finishing stage of the production of Willie’s new album, and Tommy thought it would be a terrific duet for the two of them to do.  So Willie cut the tracks and Shirley came in to sing.  Willie sang his parts, and off we went.”

  These days Shirley is touring as part of the “The Blues Is Alright” package (, but if you’re not able to see her on stage, you can always purchase a DVD she shares with Denise LaSalle called Divas in the Delta – Live in Greenwood, MS (Malaco, MDVD 9050; 2005).  The 2:25 concert took place in Leflore County Civic Center on May 9 in 1998, and Shirley’s 50-minute performance consists of Respect, Joy and Pain, You Ain’t Got to Hide Your Man, Time, Why You Want to Love Me Like That, Don’t Go Lookin’ For My Man and Woman to Woman.

  As mentioned already in the first part of the article, one of Shirley’s sisters, Joyce Glaspie a.k.a. Joy, is also a singer.  Joy: “Shirley’s my sister and I love her.  When I came along, Shirley was already grown and established.  I know her as a great entertainer.”

  Wolf: “We have been in the studio working on a new CD, looking for a release in July.  So far we have about six songs that are produced by one of our young artists and writers, Vick Allen.  Two songs have been written and produced by Frederick Knight.  Shirley has a couple of tunes herself, and we’re doing one song that was written by one of our biggest hit writers, who passed away last year, Rich Cason.  We intend to go into the studio and record maybe four or five more songs with live musicians.”

  “Shirley’s CDs are selling okay.  Not really anything is just burning it up over here.  The record business is really at a depressed stage right now.  One part is the counterfeiting that’s in this country right now.  It hurts us more than a lot of companies, because - the artists that we have and where we are - our material just gets counterfeited easier.  But the other thing is iTunes.  Now we have thousands of songs available there, and it just never ceases to amaze me, how it’s growing rapidly every month.”

  Larry Nix: “The last time I heard Shirley sing was at Homer Banks’ funeral (in 2003), and she just brought chills to me.  She sang with such a feeling and power that it was just overwhelming.”

  Frederick Knight: “I think Shirley is one of the most phenomenal acts there is today.  I don’t think she has received the claim that she deserves yet, but I think she will before it’s all said and done.  She really sounds like a fresher version of Aretha Franklin.”

  Lester Snell: “She’s one of the most amazing singers I’ve ever seen.  I give you a good example.  One of the big radio station personalities here in town, Beverly Johnson, was getting married and she asked Shirley to sing at her wedding.  I think she asked Shirley to sing a Natalie Cole song, Inseparable.  Shirley normally doesn’t sing at weddings.  She asked me to play piano behind her.  We rehearsed it for a couple of times.  When she started singing the song at the church, she tore the house down.  She got a standing ovation at a wedding.  The whole audience just stood up and applauded.  And, you know, the weddings are normally quiet.  After all that she’s coming over to me and says ‘how did I do’?”

  Bobby Manuel: “I think Shirley is one of the greatest singers in the world.  For whatever reasons, stardom just kind of eluded her on a national scale, but I think people inside the industry know how good she is.”



(label # / titles / Billboard # black or r&b/ year)


2157) Ain’t Nothin Like The Lovin We Got (# 46) / If This Is Good-bye (1989)

2160) Take Me To Your Heart / King Size Love (1990)

2171) Still In Love / Lovin’ Too Soon (1991)

2175) Time / If I Didn’t Love You

2196) Hearts Are Made To Be Loved / ‘Bout To Make Me Leave Home (1993)

2204) You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man (# 80) / Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (1995)

2300)  as above, but as a CD single

2329) Don’t Go Lookin’ For My Man / Female Player (1997)


(title / label # / Billboard placing & chart run – black or r&b / year)

FIRE & ICE (Malaco 7451 / # 66, 19 weeks / 1989)

What ‘Cha Gonna’ Do When The Money Runs Out / Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Lovin’ / Tell Me Something Good / Silent Treatment / King Size Love / If This Is Goodbye / Take Me To Your Heart / Sowed To The Wind / I Wonder Where The Love Has Gone / Anticipation

TIMELESS (Malaco 7459 / # 63, 23 weeks / 1991)

Still In Love / Let’s Make Love Tonight / I Had A Talk With My Man / Three Way Love Affair / Lovin’ Too Soon / Share Your Love / If I Didn’t Love You / I Feel Your Love / Time

JOY & PAIN (Malaco 7467 / 1993)

Joy And Pain / Hearts Are Made To Be Loved / Take It Like A Woman / It’s A Pleasure Easin’ Your Pain / You’re Gonna Make Me Cry / A Two-Way Thang / ‘Bout To Make Me Leave Home / You Know What You’re Getting’ At Home / I Don’t Hurt Like It Used To / Long On Lovin

DIVA OF SOUL (Malaco 7476 / #67, 9 weeks / 1995)

You Ain’t Got To Hide Your Man / If You’re Weak Enough / Good Loving Man / One More Time / You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man / Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is / Talk To Me / Sprung On His Love / Better You Go Your Way / Leftover Love

THE SOUL OF A WOMAN (Malaco 7486 / 1997)

Why You Want To Love Me Like That / You’re Never Gonna Find Another Love Like Mine / Don’t Go Lookin’ For My Man / The Power Of A Woman / Who Is Betty / Female Player / The Search Is Over / The Last Time I Cry (Over A Man) / You Left A Good Woman For A Good Time / I Caught You With Your Pants Down / He Looked Beyond My Faults

THREE WAY LOVE AFFAIR (“601” 3106 / 1998)

Silent Treatment / Three Way Love Affair / Let’s Make Love Tonight / It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To / Joy & Pain / Sprung On His Love / Tell Me Something Good / A Two-Way Thang / If I Didn’t Love You / Lovin’ Too Soon

HOLDING MY OWN (Malaco 7503 / 2000)

Sweet Lips, Big Hips / If You Keep Using My Love / How Close We Came / Is There A Lover In The House / Sticking By My Man / Walking Or Crawling / Cold Turkey / The Best Woman / Wrapped Up In Your Love / If I Were Your Woman / When A Woman Loves A Man / Through The Storm

WOMAN ENOUGH (Malaco 7517 / 2004)

Poon Tang Man / Think Again / My Heart Can’t Take Another Break / (I’d Have To Be) Stuck On Stupid / Too Much Candy / I’m So Fed Up / (I’ve Got To) Sleep With One Eye Open / Hook, Line & Sinker / Woman Enough! (Why Can’t You Be Man Enough) / It’s Best We Say Goodbye / Miss Lizzie’s Daughter

(For Shirley’s visits on other artists’ records, please consult the article).

Heikki Suosalo

Shirley Brown Part 1
Shirley Brown Part 2 (1976-89)
Complete Shirley Brown Discography
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