Queen Esther Marrow

Sister Woman

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Esther Marrow is most known as a jazz singer (including a stint with Duke Ellington in the 1960s) and as a gospel artist (with the Harlem Gospel Singers since 1990). Like many vocalists whose background wasn't strictly R&B, however, she also recorded some soul music. Sister Woman, from 1972, was her second album. While her vocals are strong (and, on "Turn on to Jesus" especially, have more than a hint of gospel), it's a more or less typical soul LP of the era without much that stands out. Some jazz and funk make their way into the mix, as well as covers of a couple popular hits of the day in "Rainy Night in Georgia" and some of the social consciousness permeating early-'70s soul (in "Ghetto"). "Trade Winds" holds some interest, as the ballad might be the first recording of a song later done by Rod Stewart, Roberta Flack, and Lou Rawls, and "Ask Me Dance" (arranged and written by Bobby Scott) verges on a nearly adult contemporary singer/songwriter sensibility. The 2010 reissue on BGP adds historical liner notes.