Marlena Shaw is a one-off. She never followed the pack, everything she has ever recorded is stamped with her own personality.
This music comes from her time at Columbia (CBS) in the late 70s. Her biggest ever hit 'Yuma/Go Away Little Boy' is on here. That made only #21 on the US R&B chart, and didn't sniff pop charts antwhere. 'Yuma' is a long spoken intro, perhaps inspired by Millie Jackson/Shirley Brown etc, but definitely in its own style.
There is jazz, humour and loads of good old soul. Columbia had a strong R&B catalogue at the time, and were enjoying much success, especially in the disco field, but they just could not market this stuff. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with this music. It is timeless, and stands head and shoulders above much of the music that was filling dance floors then.
Due to its specialist nature, you never see Marlena Shaw's albums really cheap, but if you yearn for something different and distinctive, chance a few quid!