Saturday, May 01, 2010

A marvel

The path to the album featured here starts with the batch of singles I bought recently (all 168 of them, if you remember). I sorted them out and decided there were about 100 I had no interest in. Yesterday I took them to a local 2nd hand record shop (there are a few still standing) to see if I could at least recoup my money. In fact I doubled my money which can’t be bad (actually I think the carry case they came in was the main attraction) – beginners luck? I could have tripled my money by taking a credit note to spend in the shop. A no brainer you might think, but in the past I have had trouble finding things to buy there. I had a good look but once again it was a fruitless search so I settled for the cash and walked away.

Except there was this one album in the reggae section that caused me to stop and ponder. The cover was held together with tape and the vinyl itself looked a bit beat up. But there was something about it… The group’s name rang a bell but nothing more. The album’s look didn’t say reggae to me, and it looked a little like a private press LP – which I think is what caused me to give it a second look. Looking at the tracklisting one track “Lee Goofed” rang a big bell- something I loved when I heard either Alexis Korner or John Peel play it on the radio many years ago, I decided. I know that track to be a cover now but there were obviously a few other covers on the album. Maybe this was just a very average collection of covers done in a la lovers rock? And the album is pretty beat. I’ll leave it, I thought.

Last night I couldn’t get the album out of my mind. So I googled it. Hardly any hits on the album itself, but I hit a link to an ebay listing which had “hear it” snippets of many of the tracks! What I heard told me that, predominantly, it certainly could not be described as reggae. But I liked what I heard.

So this morning I rushed back down to the shop – and luckily the album was still there. I knew I was going to buy it but had another good look at the condition. I convinced myself the scratches were superficial, so paid my money and hotfooted it home.

Believe me this album does have its fair share of scratches but for the most part they are superficial and it plays much better than I expected.

The album in question is The Marvels "In The Middle Of The Night". You can read about The Marvels here.

The album was filed under reggae because it is in that genre – and in rock-steady and ska – that the group made its name. On this album though “Lee Goofed (So Long Baby)” – written by Leonard Lee and originally recorded by Shirley and Lee around 50 years ago – is one of only two or three tracks on the album I could put in the reggae category. Most of the rest of the tracks come from a doo-wop starting point. There are also elements of gospel, soul, and – dare I say it – easy listening in the mix. The group – Alex ‘Dimples Hinds’, Ornell Hinds, Tracey, and Bobby (surnames unknown) take turns with lead vocals and all chip in with background vocals. The arrangements are simple but really show off the vocalists who are superb throughout. It has the feel of a group of friends in the back bar just making music for the fun of it – which of course is how it should be. The whole album is charming and beautiful, and I love it.

The Marvels – In The Middle Of The Night 1978
(male lead "Dimples" Hinds")

The Marvels - Just My Imagination 1978
(male lead Bobby)

The Marvels – Lee Goofed (So Long Baby) 1978
(female lead Ornell Hinds, male lead R D (Dandy) Livingstone) 


Raggedy said...

I love your vinyl-addict-stories as much as I love the music you're posting! "My Imagination" is such smash ad it goes straight to my Tempts covers. Thanks!
It just so happened that I posted something by Justin Hinds today -- must be family.

Darcy said...

Thanks Raggedy. You may have noticed that I'm getting more obsessive so there are likely to be more such stories coming atcha!

A coincidence indeed on our Hinds posts. Great minds... :) A quick bit of googling didn't turn up anything on a Hinds family connection, but they must certainly be close contemporaries. Must keep researching that.

Perrata 2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ana-b said...

Nice find...

Shirley & Lee's vocals and duet song style had an enormous influence on the island. That the Marvels would cover one of their tunes 20 years after it was released, says a lot.


ally. said...

they do a brilliant version of 'rocksteady' too which is all i'd heard of them till now - what a find and ta ever so for sharing

Jay Jay Lozano said...

Is this the same group that sang "You Make Me Happy"? Please post again. Thank you!