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Soul Express Album of the Month

October 1997

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Once Upon a Time
(US Sama CD, 1997)
1) It Seems Like 2) Once Upon a Time 3) Lover Man 4) It's too Late 5) I Can't Stop Lovin' You 6) I Choose You 7) Ooh Babe 8) How Could This Be 9) I Want to Give You 10) Use Me 11) Once Upon a Time Reprise

WOW!!! What a real treat it is to review a real QUALITY SOUL CD!!! This CD from Shirley Marshall is one that will definitely be in the running for my favourite of the year. The production, considering it is an independent release, is very good indeed, and the vocals, backing vocals and instrumental touches just show that yes, if they want to, real good soul music can be made in these awful times of endless cloned monotone groups.

Every track on this CD from It Seems Like through to the Once Upon a Time (Reprise) is worthy of your attention, and makes a mockery of many new female "soul" singers around today. The tempo is nicely varied, and there are even a few Latin tinges on here, too, however subtle, in the shape of Ooh Babe and Use Me. Her cover version of Carole King's It's too Late is surely the best one since David Lasley's back in 1990. It Seems Like on reflection seems as if it could have been written for an artist such as Stephanie Mills back in the late 80's, and is a cut that sparkles. Indeed, I could easily go on and on praising this remarkable set, but the space allowed here will not allow it.

I understand the sales of this CD are very healthy, but one should be very wary, as these independent albums tend not to last too long. DO NOT DELAY!!!

-Barry Towler

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