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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. 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.

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