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The Handwriting Is On the Wall

Ann Peebles

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Album Review

If This Is Heaven, Ann Peebles' 1977 attempt to merge her Southern soul influences with the disco grooves that were dominating the airwaves and the charts, proved to be a commercial disappointment, and for her next album, Peebles and longtime producer Willie Mitchell took a grand step backwards. Released in 1979, The Handwriting Is on the Wall boasted some high-powered funk backdrops, but for the most part the album finds Peebles taking on a set of straight-ahead soul numbers in which she was usually either taking a man away from some woman who didn't know how to hold on to him, or was warning the ladies why they should stay away from her significant other. Peebles is a tower of defiant sass on "I Didn't Take Your Man" and "You've Got the Papers (I've Got the Man)," she leaves no doubt about why she's dating outside her age group on "Old Man with Young Ideas," and "Bip Bam Thank You Mam" alerts listeners to the consequences of not pleasing Ms. Peebles. Willie Mitchell pairs Peebles up with some full-bodied soul and funk arrangements for these songs, and while unfortunately most of the great Hi Rhythm Section were unavailable for this record, the players on board do fine work, even if the groove lacks the ineffable touch of Peebles' finest work. The Handwriting Is on the Wall was Ann Peebles' last album for Hi, and the last new set she would release until 1988, but it captures one of the great R&B singers of the 1970s doing what she does best, and here she bows out on a high point.

Biography

Born: April 27, 1947 in East St. Louis, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A diminutive singer with a powerful voice and an even stronger attitude, Ann Peebles was one of the artists who defined Willie Mitchell's legendary Memphis soul label Hi Records, along with Al Green and, later, O.V. Wright. Easily the best female singer in the Hi stable, Peebles ranked among the finest deep Southern soul singers of the decade, notching an instant classic with her 1973 hit "I Can't Stand the Rain." She co-wrote a generous share of her own material with husband Don Bryant, and while...
Full Bio
The Handwriting Is On the Wall, Ann Peebles
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Soul
  • Released: Sep 11, 1979

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