The Mighty Marvelows - I'm So Confused (Plus Bonus Track)
The Mighty Marvelows
Greetings one and all. Here’s hoping everyone had a decent weekend, at least decent enough to make returning to work today worthwhile. Also, I’m glad so many of you dug the King Coleman cut from Friday. I’ll make sure to get his Fairmount side recorded and posted sometime in the next month. Today’s selection is yet another gem, pulled from a stack of otherwise ignored records. Well, I guess “ignored” is too strong a word, and maybe overlooked might be a better choice. As I’ve said before – and I’ll try to keep it brief for those of you that were paying attention – sometimes I get bunches of records that a lack of time (or attention span) prevent me from perusing thoroughly. Generally I’ll give them a quick spin on the portable, mark the sleeve to indicate the interesting side(s) and then move on. Sometimes it’ll be months before I get a chance to go back and really check things out. Today’s selection was the victim of my inattention, and let me take this opportunity to offer an apology, both to the readers of the blog, who have been deprived of such a fine record, and to the Mighty Marvelows who took the time to lay it down. First and foremost, The Mighty Marvelows are the same group as the Marvelows (who recorded the mighty ‘I Do’ which I will be posting in the future), but not the same group as the West Coast group the Marvellos who recorded for Loma (who apparently threatened legal action, forcing the addition of the “Mighty” to the group’s name). They got together in Chicago in the early 60’s and were discovered by arranger/producer Johnny Pate, who brought them to the attention of the ABC/Paramount label. The Marvelows hit the Top 40 only once, with ‘I Do’ in 1965, but continued to record for ABC until they broke up in 1969. Today’s selection ‘I’m So Confused’ was released in 1968, and is as solid a slice of danceable soul as you’re likely to hear. Co-written by bass singer Frank Paden (and an ‘H. Turner’ who I have yet to identify), the tune opens with a snappy snare roll, some ringing cymbals and a bright horn line. The lead vocal by Johnny Paden has a nice, raspy edge to it, and the backing vocals illustrate that the group (Mighty indeed) still hadn’t lost any of their ability to craft tight harmonies. After ‘I’m So Confused’, the Mighty Marvelows had at least one other 45, and ABC managed to release an LP by the group before they dissolved. If you dig the sound, and don’t feel like coughing up in excess of $30 for a copy (which seems to be the going rate these days), the folks over at Collectables (home of some of the best “budget” reissues) have a Marvelows collection that includes both ‘I’m So Confused’ and ‘I Do’ (see below) .
Back in October of last year I posted a gritty track (‘Sadie Mae’) by Joe Haywood. Though the track was on the New Orleans label Deesu, information provided by Dan Phillips of the mighty ‘Home of the Groove’ blog (THE source for NOLA info and always a good read) indicated that it was recorded elsewhere, and probably only leased by Deesu. Today’s bonus track was also released on Deesu (in 1966) and then picked up and issued two years later (with a slightly different title) by the Kent label. ‘(Play Me) A Cornbread Song’ takes things to a whole new funky level, with some crazy lyrics. Recently, Red Kelly, chief cook and bottle-washer over at the excellent ‘B-Side’ blog had a fantastic idea, i.e. set up a blog to gather information on obscure soul artists from as many sources as possible to create as clear a picture as possible. The result was the new blog ‘Soul Detective’, which so far has done posts on Haywood and Lee Bates which have gotten great results. Do yourselves a favor and check it out.