Friday, May 27, 2005

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.


Blogger guapo said...

Yeah, it`s great Larry! I think "Sock it to `em" is still the better track though ( I too have it on the LIKE label- nice!)
I`ve just set up my own blog and will be posting mp3s many of which will be soul flavored. Check it out and please link to it if you like what you see/hear!

5/27/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger guapo said...

Well, even though at first I thought this was a weaker track, it`s so catchy I can`t get it out of my mind! So that`s a good thing- right?

5/29/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Deep Soul Junkie said...

Damn, that's a hot track, reminds me so much of Carl Holmes & The Commanders, same feel, same energy......good shit!

5/29/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow--this really rocks! But then that's not susrprising from the group that did not only "Sock It to 'em" but "Emulsified" (Okeh), which is even more awesome. Thanks so much for posting this.

5/30/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Jason Haynes said...

High I've got it on the Red Atlantic label, which is the rarer and how much is mine worth ?
REX GARVIN & THE MIGHTY CRAVERS I Gotta Go Now UK red Atlantic label 7" with intact push-out centre

Wicked track, but I never ever ever heard it played at any soul do so I coul'nt go out on the floor!

How much is it selling for now
May consider selling mine

11/17/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Va Soul Lover said...

Larry: you have a great Web site! Rex Garvin is a soul god and I would love for someone to put together a compilation of his releases. It might take a bit of work to track them down but clearly they can be had since they are popping up on various comps.

Have you ever seen or heard a copy of Rex's Raw Funky Earth LP on Tower?

1/30/2007 03:29:00 PM  
Anonymous larry ranalli said...

i have the rex garvin lp on tower and i also have all or most of his 45s

4/08/2007 12:56:00 PM  

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