Marlena Shaw is one of Columbia's best signings, as she came to the label after the classic 1975 LP Who Is This Bitch, Anyway? In short order, Shaw continued to do great work, with a new accent on disco and less jazz-accented R&B. While quite a few compilations get tracks from before or after the artist's tenure there, this concentrates on three late-'70s titles, Sweet Beginnings, Acting Up, and Take a Bite. The tracks from Sweet Beginnings remain the best. Urbane, perfectly sung tracks like "Sweet Beginnings," "Yu-Ma/Go Away Little Boy," and the brassy "I Think I'll Tell Him" provide high points few singers are ever able to accomplish. Later songs "I'm Back for More," "Moonrise," and "The Rhythm of Love" pale in comparison to the work from Sweet Beginnings. If anything, Go Away Little Boy: The Sass and Soul of Marlena Shaw shows how daring Shaw is. Shaw paired herself with producers and arrangers including Bobby Bryant, Meco Monardo, and Harold Wheeler. While the results could have been disastrous, Shaw came out unscathed. The uncut and sensual disco of "Love Dancin'" to the playful "No One Yet" prove that it was a great move, as Shaw's voice again is vibrant and sensual. This 1999 set was the first time that Shaw's knowing, great, and dancy disco cover of "Touch Me in the Morning" made it to CD. Despite the great artist it spotlights, this set does miss Shaw essentials like "Don't Ask Me to Stay Until Tomorrow," "Johnny," and "Look at Me, Look at You." Even without some songs, this does capture Marlena Shaw's edge.
AllMusic Review by Jason Elias