Monday, January 07, 2008
Deep Detroit Soul!
Leah Dawson with Choker Campbell's Orchestra - Strange Things Happen
First of all, I'd like to welcome those of you who have come to my blog via its mention in Friday's issue of The Guardian. I certainly hope that I can continue to bring the good stuff that Chris Salmon attributed to me!
Now on to today's feature. It's always great to finally get my mitts on a record that I've been longing after for quite awhile. I first heard Leah Dawson's Northern Soul stomper "My Mechanical Man" on Mr. Fine Wine's Downtown Soulville program and immediately searched for the a copy of record, only to find that it was priced well out of my reach. Finally a copy popped up on eBay in my price range, and I snapped it right up. As is often the case when listening to a 45 that I've craved, the B-side, featured today, was a treat in its own right.
I don't know anything about Leah Dawson, but on this Magic City 45 she's backed up by Choker Campbell's Orchestra, a unit whose name is no stranger to serious soul fans. Walter "Choker" Campbell was a saxophone player who had a wealth of experience as an artist and a bandleader when he hooked up with Motown in the early '60s. Although Campbell and his group did some studio recording for Motown, both as a solo act and as backing musicians, the Choker Campbell Orchestra's main gig for the company was as the house band for the Motortown Revues. By the mid-60s, Choker and his band had moved on to other labels and projects like the Leah Dawson record. Although the "Motown sound" permeates "My Mechanical Man" (which also manages to take a swipe at the Marvelettes' "Don't Mess With Bill" and Edwin Starr's "Agent Double-O-Soul"), "Strange Things Happen" is a nice change of course, as it is a great bluesy ballad that finds Dawson lamenting her man's shabby treatment after she had built him up while Campbell's group provide fine accompaniment.