Favorite

'Woman to Woman' 

click to enlarge SHIRLEY BROWN: Last Stax hit.
  • SHIRLEY BROWN: Last Stax hit.
Memphis-based Stax Records has many Arkansas connections. One occurred in the mid-1970s, when a Crittenden County-born singer was brought in, in hopes of saving the label from financial ruin. Shirley Brown was born Jan. 6, 1947, in West Memphis. She moved to East St. Louis when she was 9. In her youth she had sung with the likes of Little Milton and Albert King. Later, guitarist King brought Brown to Stax. King, influence to Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, lived in Crittenden County and is buried in Edmondson. After experiencing great expansion and success in the 1970s while headed by Brinkley-born and North Little Rock-raised Al Bell, Stax was in trouble. “What they owed me on paper, they sent back in records,” Bell says. “What they had been doing was taking the product in, warehousing it, bleeding the marketplace and bleeding me — and doing what they do to take over a corporation. They didn’t call it hostile takeover back then, but that’s what it was about.” Jim Stewart, Stax’s original owner, had returned to the label he founded in the late 1950s. Stax had launched Otis Redding and Sam and Dave and had hits like Booker T and the MGs’ “Green Onions,” only to have the label’s catalog overtaken by distributor Atlantic. Stewart hadn’t been in the studio in years, but was sufficiently moved by Brown to produce her. Another West Memphis native, trumpeter Wayne Jackson, also played at the March 1974 Brown sessions, and had been part of both the Stewart and Bell eras. The first song attempted had already been rejected by another Stax singer, Inez Foxx. “Woman to Woman” featured a woman confronting her man’s other woman by phone. “This is Shirley,” Brown speaks calmly over the opening bars. “... I was going through my old man’s pockets this morning, and I just happened to find your name and number. “... I don’t know how you’re going to take this; whether you’ll be cool, or come out of the bag on me. See, it really doesn’t make any difference. But it’s only fair that I let you know; that the man you’re in love with — he’s mine. From the top of his head to the bottom of his feet; the bed he sleeps in and every piece of food he eats. You see, I make it possible. The clothes on his back? I buy them. The car he drives? I pay the note every month.” “Woman to Woman” appeared on Stax’s Truth subsidiary in August 1974. It topped the R&B charts, hit No. 22 on the pop charts, and eventually sold more than 1 million copies. Brown’s song was nominated for a Grammy for best female vocal performance and spawned at least two answer songs: Lonnie Youngblood’s “Man to Woman,” and Barbara Mason’s “From His Woman To You” — which used new lyrics over the original melody and reached No. 3 on the R&B charts in December 1974. “Woman to Woman” was one of faltering giant Stax’s mere four Top 10s that year. In late 1974, the label bought the small pressing plant of Rimrock Records in Concord (Cleburne County). Rimrock was owned by Wolf Bayou native Wayne Raney, a former country music star. When another Brown single, “It Ain’t No Fun,” gained steam and hit the Top 40, the Rimrock plant ran 24 hours a day to meet production demand in spring 1975. Despite Brown’s success, it wasn’t enough — “Woman to Woman” was Stax’s last major hit. listening • “Woman to Woman,” Shirley Brown • “It Ain’t No Fun,” Shirley Brown • “Man to Woman,” Lonnie Youngblood “From His Woman to You,” Barbara Mason
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer

    The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office filed a direct charge in circuit court today against Michael Tate Reed, who's been held in the county jail since he was arrested June 28 after driving over and demolishing the day-old Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Whatever secret bill Senate considers, winners and losers are the same

    The U.S. Senate seems likely to vote Tuesday on a secret health bill. Whatever version is rolled out — and if Sen. John McCain's doctor approves a fly-in so he may vote — the outcome is the same. Bad for working poor and previously sick; good for rich people.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Two shot in home on W. 19th

    KARK reports that a 19-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were found with gunshot wounds when police responded to a house in the 4200 block of W. 19th.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • More »

More by Stephen Koch

  • Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

    Also, Outlaw Music Festival, Little Tybee, Terminal Nation, Liz Brasher, Architecture and Design Network Talk from Jeff Shannon, Good Foot and more
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Brit Floyd at Verizon Arena

    Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd brought its Immersion tour to the north shore Monday. Blame it on post-Riverfest musical exhaustion or the earliness in the week, but the perennial arena favorite played to a smallish crowd of 1,218 with a few rowdy flashes.
    • Jun 6, 2017
  • Riverfest 2017: flute solos, fireworks and fidget spinners

    Whether you had a good time at Riverfest largely depends on when you were there. We've yet to get a report of the attendance numbers, but eyeballing the crowds this year in comparison to last year's tells us the intermittent rain deterred plenty of potential Riverfesters.
    • Jun 5, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.

Latest in Arkansongs

  • Floyd Cramer's country keys

    Floyd Cramer, who grew up in Huttig, became one of the most important piano players in the development of country music.
    • May 3, 2007
  • Dorough finds his voice

    From his beginnings in Cherry Hill, Bob Dorough knew music was his thing.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • ‘Sunday Afternoon’

    Soundtrack album forges on without film.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation