Brigette McWilliams

Too Much Woman

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Brigette McWilliams unexpectedly shifted gears with her sophomore effort, Too Much Woman. While her previous album, Take Advantage of Me, had combined R&B with hip-hop and acid jazz, Too Much Woman is pure retro-soul and often sounds like it could have been recorded in 1977 instead of 1997. Earthy, down-home offerings like "Morning," "Better Off Without You" and "Writing A Letter" show little or no awareness of the hip-hop-flavored R&B of the 1990s, and producer Steve Harvey rejects the high-tech urban contemporary approach in favor of real bass, real drums and real guitar. In fact, the credits read like a "who's who" of 1970s soul sessions thanks to the presence of Billy Preston (Hammond B-3 organ), former Rufus bassist Bobby Watson, percussionist Paulinho Da Costa and Earth, Wind & Fire alumni Al McKay (guitar) and Larry Dunn (keyboards). Those who asserted that Too Much Woman, unlike Take Advantage of Me, was neither innovative nor cutting-edge were right, but then, an album needn't be groundbreaking in order to be excellent. If Adriana Evans and Erykah Badu were the most exciting young female R&B singers of 1997, a definite runner up would have to be McWilliams, whose second album is retro in the best sense of the word.

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