The excitement leading up to this music being recorded shines through on a glorious French reissue. 1969- Esther Marrow had sung with Duke Ellington, recorded with Cannonball Adderly, toured with Dr MLKing. The future was ripe for her. Her big, soulful, gospel tinged voice was given amazing arrangements by GENE PAGE and ARTIE BUTLER with some of the day's best jazz performers backed by tight horns, gorgeous strings and psychedelic electric guitars to show what could come after the wall of sound. Gorgeous! All the uplift of Gospel without religiosity.
Of course, no one had yet perceived that the market for Black women singers with voices big enough to knock down barns was vanishingly small. Although the record was well received in the black community- Louis Armstrong covered two of the songs sung here first- within two years Bob Thiele had lost his FLYING DUTCHMAN record label to insolvency. ESTHER MARROW didn't record again until SISTER WOMAN on Fantasy in 1972 and didn't make another secular record after that.
It is no small success for anyone to make a living as a singer. Ms. Marrow has, though mostly touring in a musical hagiography of Mahalia Jackson who also had a big voice but may not have had the originality or exuberance of this album. When I saw this show in 1986, none of her supporting cast even knew that she had made records before.
This reissue- vanishingly rare- is gorgeously remastered by "The VIBE Original Album Series" and sounds better than either of my LPs of this ever did. If you can source a copy, buy it right away. It is a beautiful reminder of a high period in American Music.