Shirley Brown

For the Real Feeling

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When Fantasy acquired the Stax catalog in 1977 and decided to revive the label, one of the artists who recorded for the new Stax was Shirley Brown. Unfortunately, the new Stax didn't get very far -- though Fantasy has fared well with reissues of Stax's 1968-1975 output, none of the albums that came out on the new Stax in the late '70s were big sellers. But while For the Real Feeling suffered from disappointing sales, its material was generally decent and sometimes excellent. Produced by David Porter (who co-wrote many Stax smashes with Isaac Hayes) and Lester Snell, Jr., For the Real Feeling came out on a label that was famous for Memphis soul but often sounds like it could have been recorded for Philadelphia International. Indeed, Porter and Snell seem to be taking some hints from Gamble & Huff and their disciples on disco-influenced items like "Move Me -- Move Me," "Hang on Louie," and "When, Where and What Time" -- Brown's Aretha Franklin-influenced vocals are tough and gritty, but the production is very sleek, clean, and orchestrated. The producers don't turn Brown into an all-out dancefloor diva à la Gloria Gaynor, Linda Clifford, or Loleatta Holloway, although the influence of Northern soul/disco is certainly there.

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