Maxine Ella Brown (born August 18, 1939, Kingstree, South Carolina) is an American soul and R&B singer.
Maxine Brown began singing as a child, performing with two New York based gospel groups called the Angelairs and the Royaltones when she was a teenager. In 1960, she signed with the small Nomar record label, who released the smooth soul ballad "All in My Mind" (which was written by Maxine) late in the year. The single became a hit, climbing to number two on the US R&B charts (number 19 pop), and it was quickly followed by "Funny", which peaked at number three.
Brown was poised to become a star and she moved to the bigger ABC-Paramount in 1962, but left the label after an unsuccessful year and recording several non-chart singles for the label, and signed to the New York-based uptown soul label, Wand Records, a Scepter Records subsidiary, in 1963.
Brown recorded a string of sizable hits for Wand over the next three years. Among these were the Carole King/Gerry Goffin songs "Oh No Not My Baby", which reached number 24 on the pop charts in 1964, and "It's Gonna Be Alright", which peaked at #26 the following year. She also recorded duets with label-mate Chuck Jackson, including a reworked version of an Alvin Robinson hit, "Something You Got", which climbed to #10 on the R&B chart. However, the company turned its focus to other bigger-selling acts, especially Dionne Warwick.
All backing vocals for Maxine's records were performed by Cissy Houston and the Sweet Inspirations (the same group that backed Elvis Presley), plus emerging writer-producers Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Hoping to increase the line of hits for Maxine and her singing partner, Chuck Jackson, Ashford and
Simpson took their song catalog to Scepter Records looking for a deal. When they were turned down, the couple approached Berry Gordy at Motown Records who immediately hired them. Songs that were penned for Maxine and Chuck became blockbuster hits for Ray Charles, such as "Let's Go Get Stoned" (co-written by Jo Armstead), as well as Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
In 1969 Maxine left Wand for Commonwealth United, where she recorded two singles, the first "We'll Cry Together" reached #10 in
the Billboard R&B chart and also made the lower reaches of the Hot 100. A spell with AvcoRecords followed, but her later recordings generally met with little commercial success. By the 1980s, Maxine had grown tired of show biz altogether and went into semi retirement, but encouragement from a fellow R&B survivor Ruth brown helped rekindle Maxine’s desire to perform.
In 1991 the R&B Hall of Fame paid tribute to her artistry by ceremonially perpetuating her in their prestigious honor rolls as a lifelong inductee.
A recurring role in the sassy musical Wild Women Don’t Get The Blues kept Brown in the public eye, and when she reprised “Oh No Not My Baby” on PBS-TV’s R&B 40: A Soul Spectacular, it was obvious that Maxine’s soulful spirit hadn’t dimmed one bit.
Brown is acknowledged as one of the finer R&B vocalist of her time, able to handle soul, jazz, and pop with equal aplomb.
Maxine Brown’s eagerly awaited Ponderosa Stomp appearance on Friday, October 4, 2013 is sure to be a wonderful, profoundly soulful experience as well. (Info edited from Wikipedia and Ponderosastomp)