While some of her labelmates at Malaco (including Johnnie Taylor
) have continued to record the type of straight-up soul music they embraced in the 1970s, Shirley Brown's
Malaco CDs of the late '80s and '90s have found her trying to balance soul and urban contemporary considerations, with mixed results. Decent but uneven, the singer's Malaco releases have fallen short of the excellence of her classic Stax recordings. A case in point is Fire & Ice
. The CD does contain a few gems, including the sexy "Take Me to Your Heart," the gritty "Sowed to the Wind" and the moving duet with Bobby Womack
, "Ain't Nothin' Like the Lovin' We Got." But much of the material, although likable enough, isn't as strong as it could be. Brown
is capable of a lot more.