Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers - I Gotta Go Now (Up On The Floor)
In addition to having one of the coolest band names ever, Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers are also responsible for creating one of my all time favorite soul 45’s (seriously, top 10 material). I first heard of Mr. Garvin and his Cravers indirectly, via the Specials cover of ‘Sock It To Em JB’ (from the 1980 LP ‘More Specials’). The Cravers version is a somewhat hotter affair (with some weird phasing on Pt2), but that’s neither here nor there. Garvin and company are a perfect example of what I like to think of as “journeyman” artists, i.e. bands/singers that released a number of 45’s and LPs over a period of time for a variety of labels but never really broke through into the charts. Rex Garvin began his career playing on record with the doowop group the Hearts and Johnnie and Joe. He started releasing records with the Mighty Cravers in the early to mid 60’s on labels like Okeh, Like, Tower, Uptown, and Atlantic (and later at least one LP). Other than that there’s not a lot I could tell you about Garvin or his band. I’ve never been able to track down any biographical information of substance, so the evidence keeps trickling in on 45 labels. Some years ago I picked up a bootleg compilation of hard hitting soul and R&B, which contained todays number, ‘I Gotta Go Now (Up On The Floor)’. I can’t tell you much about the other tracks on the LP, but when ‘I Gotta Go Now’ kicked in the hair on the back of my neck stood at attention and I reflexively reached over and upped the volume. The tune is a storming soul raver from the get go, with Rex wailing and the Cravers egging him on in call and response. One of the things I really like about this record is that – like Chuck Edwards ‘Downtown Soulville’ – it has a “rock” edge to it. The propulsive bass, guitar chops and combo organ bring the tune to a boil and keep it moving all the way to the fade out. It’s easy to imagine Rex Garvin and the Mighty Cravers at the end of show, soaked in sweat and exhausted gathering up just enough energy to absolutely murder the crowd with a closing number like this. When they hit the chorus and start trading lines…. Rex: I gotta go now! Cravers: Go ahead! Rex: Out on the floor now! Cravers: Go ahead! Rex: I gotta go now! Rex: Out on the floor now! Cravers: Go ahead! Hit it! Git it! Don’t quit it! Hit it! …I can imagine a floor full of ecstatic dancers answering back. Garvin’s vocals work a well worn but still effective Wilson Pickett vibe (can’t knock the Wicked or his many disciples…). In the end ‘I Gotta Go Now…’ is more than just a great party record. It’s like someone was able to harness pure energy and press it into vinyl, ready to blow the tone arm off of the record player and exploding through the speakers, through your ears, into your brain and wrapping around your nerve endings with enough force to shoot you out of your chair. Play this song at high volume.
* The flip side of this record 'Believe It Or Not' is a weird (and cool) cautionary (?) tale of LSD. Clean copies of this record have been going up in price lately (I saw it go over $100 on Ebay, where it ought to be around $30-$50). If that's too rich for your blood, seek out the comps.