The long anticipated SHIRLEY JONES “tribute” album finally wins release, tomorrow 16th February. Its “upcoming” release was announced  way back last August when the ever-soulful Ms J told us she was preparing the release of a new album, ‘In Loving Memory’. She told us that the album would be a heart-felt  tribute to her late sisters Brenda and Valerie. With Shirley, of course, they were revered as The JONES GIRLS whose hits numbered ‘You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else’, ‘I Just Love the Man’, and the evergreen ‘Nights Over Egypt’.

To flag up that August announcement Shirley released a single –  a searing, emotional ballad, ‘When You Love Somebody’. ‘When You Love Somebody’ is, obviously,  one of the focus cuts on the new collection, ‘In Loving Memory; Reflections’ but there’s plenty more to recommend serious investigation.

First up there’s a lost Philly classic – ‘Baby Don’t Go Yet’. This dancer was recorded 45 years ago when the Jones Girls were in their pomp. Though crafted  form all the classic PIR ingredients, the song has only ever had a limited release – most notably on an Expansion  collectors’ single. Now we  can all enjoy its splendour on  the album. Little wonder it’s been chosen as the next single.

Collectors will recognise a few more of the tracks. Back in 2022 soul connoisseurs  and steppers enjoyed Shirley’s collaboration with the Soul Syndicate crew. Their ‘Soul Steppin’’ was a modern soul dancer’s delight and great to have it ensconced on the album! Then, earlier this year Shirley collaborated with UK soul veteran Everis on his ‘Songs in the Key Of E’ album. One of their duets, ‘This I Know’ is included on the album too. Beware!!! Soul conservatives will need to know the cut features a rap from Cam Jones who is actually Shirley’s son.

Elsewhere there’s plenty more  to enjoy, like the crisp ‘My Time To Shine’ and a re-recording (we think) of the Jones Girls dramatic ‘At Your Mercy’. The album ends in poignant fashion with ‘Reflections’ – not the Supremes ’classic , rather a tribute to the Jones family – specifically Shirley’s sisters and her mother. The spoken intro is heart-warming. The song was actually written and produced by Valerie Jones’  son, PJ and as with the inclusion of the Cam Jones rap, makes the album a real family affair!