Marlena Shaw – Woman of the Ghetto (Album Version) [1969]

What the hell, its fabulous. Probably Shaw’s signature tune and with good reason. Some era defining lyrics pertaining to the civil rights movement, heavy jazz influenced beats and that vocal …. unbelievable. 10 minutes of bliss.

“Puts me in the mind of, comming across the water, in a boat, chained…tied…together. No No they’re not really men & women”

‘Woman of the Ghetto’ is not only a departure for Shaw musically, but marked a move into “topical” material. Co-written by Shaw, Evans and Bobby Lee Miller, the lyrics are a powerful social/political statement, and unusual in her Cadet catalogue. She lays down a soulful vocal with bits of improvisational spice. The tune has a slightly menacing edge, with some cool, echoey background vocals. The arrangement builds slowly, with a pulsing bass line and new sounds being added as the record (which clocks in at over five minutes) moves along. At one point Evans seems to run the kalimba through a wah-wah pedal which makes for an interesting effect. The recording stands out as an epic of sorts, and is one of the finest that Evans ever had a hand in (and that’s really saying something). Though the record didn’t chart, it was influential, garnering cover versions in the US by Doris Duke and in Jamaica by Marcia Griffiths, Hortense Ellis and Phyllis Dillon (Shaw’s version appears to have been released in Jamaica). ‘Woman of the Ghetto’ has been sampled a few times as well by both Lyrics Born and No ID


One Response

  1. the voice, the lyrics, perfect after a hard day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: