Voice from the Shadows: The Story of a Muscle Shoals Soul Sister

Voice from the Shadows: The Story of a Muscle Shoals Soul Sister

by Mary GreshamMary Gresham


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It says a lot about how many great soul singers could be found in the deep South during the '60s and '70s that a talent as impressive as Mary Gresham could slip through the cracks. Born in Selma, AL, Gresham released a pair of singles as part of a vocal duo called Chuck & Mariann in 1968, but while she was consistently in demand as a live act, worked singing publishing demos and commercial jingles, and came within a hair's breadth of landing a solo recording deal, Gresham never had the chance to cut an album. Vintage soul archivist Garry J. Cape heard some demos Gresham cut at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and became convinced she was a major talent that had somehow gone undiscovered, and after uncovering a caché of recordings from a variety of sources he's sharing the evidence of Gresham's talent on Voice from the Shadows: The Story of a Muscle Shoals Soul Sister. Gresham was lucky enough to record much of her material at the Muscle Shoals studios with the famous studio rhythm section backing her up, and "You've Never Really Lived (Until You've Loved Someone)," "Promises Are Not to Be Broken," and "Stay There and Try to Be Strong" are Southern soul in the classic style, with Gresham's rich, gospel-inspired instrument fusing beautifully with the musicians and bringing the songs (many of which she helped write) to palpable life. While much of the other material (cut at Playground Studio and Broadway Sound) aren't quite as impressive, the backing is still crisp and soulful, and Gresham shows she can handle an impressive range of material, from the taut funk of "Get on Back on the Right Track," the razor sharp blues of "Raining In My Heart," and the polished groove of her cover of Bill Withers' "Use Me." Voice from the Shadows doesn't quite equal the great lost Mary Gresham album -- as strong as the individual tracks may be, it doesn't quite cohere into a disc where the whole exceeds the sum of the parts. But there are plenty of fine tracks here, and this is certainly several cuts above most rarities collections beloved by U.K. soul mavens -- Gresham was clearly a superb talent even if she never got the break she deserved, and this album makes that abundantly clear.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/18/2008
Label: Soulscape
UPC: 5025009700824
catalogNumber: 7008

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary Gresham   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Memphis Horns   Musician
Dave Adkins   Musician
John Rainey Adkins   Musician
Tippy Armstrong   Musician
Barry Beckett   Musician
Roger Hawkins   Musician
David Hood   Musician
Clayton Ivey   Musician
Jimmy Johnson   Musician
Lenny LeBlanc   Musician
Randy McCormick   Musician
Larry Shell   Musician
Marie Tomlinson   Background Vocals
Terry Woodford   Background Vocals
Barbara Wyrick   Background Vocals
Roger "Little" Clark   Musician

Technical Credits

Bill Withers   Composer
Finley Duncan   Composer,Producer
Mary Gresham   Composer
Roger Hawkins   Producer
Clayton Ivey   Composer,Producer
Jimmy Johnson   Producer
James Moore   Composer
Larry Shell   Composer
Harvey Thompson   Composer
Jerry Weaver   Composer,Producer
Jerry West   Composer
Terry Woodford   Composer,Producer
Cornell Ward   Composer
Becki Bluefield   Composer

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