Marilyn’s Extra Baggage

Bruce Von Stiers

There are quite a few jazz singers out there whose work you might know but whose name you didn’t.Marilyn Harris might well be one of those singers. I had heard a couple of her songs, but never really knew who she was. I recently got a chance to listen to Marilyn’s first album. It is full of great original jazz songs. The title of the album is Between The Lines. Not only does Marilyn sing on the album, she provides some great keyboard music.

The album is ten years old now. But the songs on it aren’t too different than new ones being sung today. Marilyn either wrote or co-wrote all of the 15 songs on the album. It was produced by Marilyn and Mark Wolfram. A whole bunch of musicians worked on this album with Marilyn, including Ron Friedman, Mark Walker, Russell George and Billy Panda.

Marilyn has had a varied career. Her singing has appeared on commercials, in television shows and even an animated children’s series. She has also been part of several other artist’s albums including ones for Judi Silvano and Bette Midler.

Marilyn starts out this album with a light song called Only You. It is about a woman who is in awe of the love she has for a particular man.

The exact opposite occurs in the second song, Extra Baggage. This one has a lot of horn and guitar. She is cutting him loose. He’s “extra baggage” and she “can’t afford to play the fool while you fool around.”

Mahina is a great song about lovers who are gone. Marilyn sings about trade winds, waves and the love that awaits him if he returns.

On more than one occasion Marilyn has been compared to singers like Roberta Flack and Billie Holliday. She definitely has Flack’s energy. The music on this album is mainly easy listening pop and jazz.

An interesting song tucked into the middle of the album is one titled Coney Island. It has sound effects from the New York attraction. The song is a tale about having to grow up and not having the real world meeting your expectations.

Mr. Wrong starts out with some Carole King style of piano music. It is a bluesy torch song about the wrong kind of guy that women always fall for.

When I See Your Face is one of those songs that feels like it should be a number in a early ‘60’s musical. It has a lot of horns and moving around.

There isn’t a song on the album that misses the mark. Marilyn assembled a good mixture of pop and jazz melodies for the album.

The title track, Between The Lines, is about trying to say goodbye but not really being able to.

Between The Lines was a wonderful way to get introduced to the music of Marilyn Harris. Her songs have the right mixture of pop and jazz to make the album a great addition to my easy listening music collection.

You can listen to clips of Marilyn’s music on her web site. It can be found at


© 2004 Bruce E Von Stiers