I hope you had a great weekend and are all refreshed, reinvigorated and ready for the week ahead at the ‘Coal face’ of your respective choices?
Saturday saw me hooking up with Hoppin’ John and my Betterdays compatriot, El Guiri, before we headed over to The 100 Club on Oxford Street for the eagerly anticipated Marva Whitney / Osaka Monaurail / The Impellers show.
As far as live gigs go this was undoubtedly up there with the best I’ve ever seen!!
We arrived at the venue to find things in full swing with Freestyle Records boss, Adrian Gibson doing the business on the decks.
He set the tone for the night perfectly, both before and in between the bands with some seriously heavyweight 45s, including a minty OG copy of ‘Funky 16 Corners’ by The Highlighters on 3 Diamonds, which admittedly had us staring enviously at the decks after that!
The Impellers took to the stage and kicked things up a notch with their tightly worked grooves. By the end of the first track they had the full attention of the crowd, which was swelling by the minute, as more and more bodies made it into the venue.
Having procured a copy of their fantastic LP ’Robot Legs’ (Thanks Glenn and Clair!!) a short while ago, I was well aware of the majority of stuff from the LP that they played. They also dipped into their back catalogue for a brilliant re-working of ‘Bringing Something Sweeter', which had me making a mental note to keep an eye open for some of their previous releases!! As a band they were well rehearsed and performed faultlessly, even down to the new track which cheekily “They’d only played a couple of times before!”
The last third of their performance saw them dropping two covers, Sharon Jones ‘Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut’ and a cleverly reworked and much more funky version of The Ting Tings ‘That’s Not My Name’, which had the crowd getting down. They finished up with their new 45 ‘How Am I?’, which had everyone in the venue screaming for an encore!!
The Impellers duelly obliged with a punchy horn led cover of Jimmy Hendrix’s ‘Fire’! Top stuff and both Hoppin’ John and myself are waiting in excited anticipation for them to join us for our Soul Weekender in February!! Great stuff!!
Support the band by picking up their LP, ’Robot Legs’ HERE
The Impellers – How Am I? – Freestyle Records
After a short interlude, which just gave us enough time to catch our breaths and refill our glasses, Osaka Monaurail appeared on stage.
Slickly dressed in matching suits, they started off with a short 20 minute set featuring some of the tightest and flawless live funk I’ve ever seen, let alone heard!! The band were well drilled by lead singer, organist and conductor, Ryo Nakata, and were visually highly entertaining with their synced trumpet spinning and dance steps!!
They returned after a short break and got the crowd moving again with some great JB covers including ‘Soul Pride’, which IMHO was simply amazing!! A quick spin through the Maceo & The Flames version of ‘Tighten Up’ and it was time for the main event of the evening!
Support the band by picking up some of their fantastic 45s and LPs HERE
Osaka Monaurail - Thankful (For What You've Done)
With Osaka Monaurail still playing and not even stopping to pause, they broke into their “It’s Star Time!!” introduction. The crowd went absolutely wild as Soul Sister No1, Marva Whitney took to the stage!!
Dressed elegantly in red, she looked vulnerable at first, but once she found her voice she settled in comfortably and belted out classic after classic! Her vocals were as strong and powerful as ever, and she never strained to hit either the high or the long notes!!
After a brief couple of minutes break from the stage, she returned for the final part of her show, where she shocked the crowd by revealing she was 65 years old!!! For me, stand out moments were ‘Its My Thing' and a faultless ‘Your Love Was Good For Me’ (which happens to be my favourite 45 by her!). There were several moments during her performance where you could see the youthfulness of the 26 year old Marva Whitney who'd had three 45s simultaneously in the Top 100 from 1968.
She mesmerised and entranced the crowd completely with emotionally fraught recollections of “Love” as well as her feelings on being “Black-Balled by the Music Industry for 40 years”. Her final request from the crowd was “That we all keep the faith”, before she belted out a powerful ‘I Am What I Am’, which left me totally shell shocked and stunned!
She left the stage to rapturous applause, a complete first class performance from The First Lady Of Funk. As we left there was a definite feeling amongst everyone that we had just witnessed something incredibly special!
Marva Whitney – It’s My Thing – King Records
Before I go check out a few videos I’ve posted from today’s artists on the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY PAGE.
Enjoy today’s trio of 45s, support the artists and I’ll be back here shortly with something special for you!!