The fact that some of the tracks on these two albums have been sampled by hiphop acts, and/or turned up on various compilations have fuelled their cult status.
This double Cd couples Marlena Shaw's two albums for Cadet and throws in 10 extra tracks, including "Wade in the Water" and "Mercy, Mercy Mercy". It is a generous compilation and it is nicely packaged.
Of the two albums "The Spice of Life" is the best. It includes "Liberation Conversation" and the fantastic "Woman of the Ghetto" which have turned up on GTV's "Blaxploitation" compilations. These two tracks, together with a storming version of Ashford/Simpson's "California Soul" are the greatest moments on these two CD's.
"The Spice of Life" is a good album, and at times it is excellent, but "Out of Different Bags", which is the other half of this set, is mostly uninspired soul jazz. Even if Shaw is an excellent singer, it is a fairly dull affair.
Despite the fact that this double CD is nicely priced, I'd suggest you to go for the "Anthology" Cd instead. It includes all the best tracks from this set and some other great tracks Shaw recorded after she had left the Cadet/Chess label.