Personnel: Shirley Brown (background vocals); Lester Snell, Winston Stewart, Bobby Manuel (programming); Vicki Hampton, Kim Fleming (background vocals).
Recording information: Black Diamond Studios, Memphis, TN.
Fair or unfair, Shirley Brown's Malaco efforts are destined to be compared to the mid-1970s Stax recordings that put her on the map. The Aretha Franklin-influenced belter will always be associated with her 1974 pearl "Woman to Woman," and that's a hell of a lot to live up to. Those who expect Timeless to be an all-out soul extravaganza are in for a letdown, but the high-tech effort (which tries to satisfy both urban contemporary and soul fans) does have its strong points -- most notably, the bluesy "Three Way Love Affair," the confessional "I Had a Talk With My Man" and the stirring "Share Your Love." Nor is a cover of Al Green's "I'm Still In Love With You" anything to be ashamed of. Slightly stronger than the decent Fire & Ice, this isn't a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. But when a singer has achieved the type of excellence that defined Brown in the 1970s, one expects more than simply decent. ~ Alex Henderson