As far as I'm concerned, the melding of soul with calliopes or calliope-inspired music is the greatest thing that ever happened. Sadly, it did not happen often. I found this record while searching for carnival-themed tunes for the recent Sugar Town Dance Carnival. I have chosen to share it with you because today Marv Johnson would have turned 76.
He was the first star of Motown, though his biggest records weren't released on any of the actual Motown labels. When Marv launched his recording career, Motown wasn't the distribution powerhouse it would become so Marv's sides were released on UA.
Like most of Marv's early records, this was produced and co-written by Berry Gordy. Berry doesn't get a lot of recognition as a producer, which is kind of a shame because I find myself loving a lot of his records. And on this one, what's not to love? Calliope + playful strings + gorgeous vocals + a clever song concept. It shoulda been a bigger hit! Eddie Holland also did a version of this song in 1959, but it kind of falls flat for me. Interestingly, both were produced by Berry. I guess he had polished his concept the second time around. Marv Johnson's version paints a vibrant picture and really pulls out all the stops in bringing this song to life!
DJ Action Slacks
I'm excited to highlight some of my favorite records in a variety of genres (soul, R&B, classic country, rockabilly, oldies, garage rock, etc). These won't all necessarily be "dance" records per se. They will all be records that I believe deserve a special listen. I simply love good music, rare or not. Hopefully you will spend some time here and love music right along with me! Lets give this a shot!