MARILYN ASHFORD BROWN: Just Doing Me (Label: Ash2Brown Entertainment)

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  • MARILYN ASHFORD BROWN: Just Doing Me (Label: Ash2Brown Entertainment)

Don’t know too much about Ms. Ashford Brown save that she has a tremendous old school soul voice that shows evidence of a Church apprenticeship… and when that voice meets up with the right material, the result is some wonderful soul. Here on ‘Just Doing Me’ there’s at least four cuts where that magic connection is made. First up there’s ‘Gonna Give Love (One More Try)’. Self-penned, it’s a luscious ballad with a catchy chorus and a weaving sax courtesy of Jeff Antoniuk. His sax’s to the fore on the second stunner – a cover of a song usually associated with Dianne Schurr – ‘Louisiana Sunday Afternoon’. Here the tune comes over as a lazy, easy-paced jazz roller, in contrast to the more dramatic ‘Joy’ … the third excellent cut on the album. Another Ashford Brown original, the lyric is clever while the music has all the feel of a big set-piece show tune. As good is the album’s fourth cut worth serious soul investigation – ‘You Are My Everything’. It’s the kind of song that Anita Baker would make a great job of… though Marilyn’s treatment isn’t Bakerish. Her vocal is big and emotional and again the sax tracking by Antoniuk is a delight. The rest of the album doesn’t come up to the high standard of those four – though ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and ‘Old School’ are decent beaters. A remix of an older song – ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Me’ – rides a good groove too, though soul purists might jibe at the overlong rap intro. Equally they’ll find little to connect to in ‘How Much’… a kind of housey dance thing that just doesn’t work. However, you can see why artists like Marilyn Ashford Brown feel the need to record them. Old school soul doesn’t seem to impress the modern record company execs and a lot of the buying public too… hence the need to attempt diversification. However, those who still appreciate real soul will find at least four great tracks here. The album is currently available via CD Baby as is Marilyn’s previous LP – ‘Still Standing’ which features covers of EWF’s ‘Can’t Hide Love’ and Dexter Wansel’s ‘Don’t Stop’.
(BB) 4/5