Maxine Brown – 1968 – Out of Sight

A later set from singer Maxine Brown – recorded a few years after her better-known sides for Wand in the 60s, but a totally great set with an even deeper soul feel!

Arrangements and production are by Mike Terry, of Funk Brothers fame – and he gives Maxine a soaring style that’s a bit more in the southern soul mode than some of her earlier uptown soul, and which has her vocals crackling wonderfully on a range of funky covers and lesser-known gems.

Even when singing other folks’ tunes, Maxine’s a the top of her game – and the arrangements from Terry help transform the sound of the record so that each song sparkles as if it’s her very own. 

Tracks
A1 Sugar Dumplin’ 2:28
A2 Plum Outa Sight 2:04
A3 Sunny 2:40
A4 I Wish It Would Rain 2:51
A5 I’m in Love 2:22
B1 In My Entire Life 2:37
B2 Don’t Leave Me Baby 2:50
B3 Just Give Me One Good Reason 2:18
B4 Stop 2:28
B5 Seems You’ve Forsaken My Love 3:03
B6 When a Man Loves a Woman 2:40

It is a crime that this album was not what Maxine is remembered for, instead of the, albeit still good, ‘Oh No Not My Baby’.

Out Of Sight is a somewhat pop-soul album, having a safe but expressive vocal style, excellent writing and perfect instrumentation to go with Maxine’s golden voice.

The stand-out tracks of the album include ‘In My Entire Life‘, ‘Sugar Dumpling‘ and ‘From Loving You‘ each showing a different style of music and vocal skill.

This album does include some covers ‘Sunny‘, ‘I Wish it Would Rain‘ and ‘When a Man Loves a Woman, they play it safe and are not distinctly different from the originals, however Maxine adds her own flair to each, stopping them from being direct copies. Don’t misunderstand, none of these covers are bad, but they don’t try to make them distinctly different.

To end I would like to say how beautiful Maxine looks on the cover, album art can certainly help sell, and that is what caught my eye with this album and I am very glad it did.

A wonderful album that I can listen to again and again.


Bonus

Oh No, Not My Baby: The Best Of Maxine Brown

This 28-song CD is undoubtedly the best compilation of this underrated soul singer’s work, featuring many of her ’60s singles and several tunes from the era that were unreleased until the ’80s. This disc draws from her recordings for the Wand label between 1963 and 1967, when Brown was at her artistic peak. Of course the hit title track is a highlight, but there are no clunkers in this excellent collection of overlooked ’60s pop-soul, featuring the New York “uptown” production that also graced the records of fellow Wand/Scepter artists like Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson. Brown was one of the most versatile soul divas of the ’60s, showing the influence of Brill Building pop, girl groups, Motown, and even Stax soul and supper-club ballads. As with a similar artist like Betty Everett, this versaility has worked against her in some ways. Neither full-fledged pop nor unabashedly soul, her work cannot be easily pigeonholed into a certain soul genre, and has cost her the respect that some purists reserve for “deep” soul singers. But her work holds up well. Collectors should be aware that this disc doesn’t include any of the records she cut in the early ’60s before joining Wand; the version of her 1961 Top 20 hit “All in My Mind” here is from a live 1964 release, not the original single.

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