Thursday, January 12, 2006

Philly Soul, By Way of New Orleans

Bobby Marchan - (Ain't No Reason) For Girls To Be Lonely (Pt. 1)

The late New Orleans R&B legend Bobby Marchan is probably best known for his work as singer with Huey "Piano" Smith & The Clowns ("Don't You Just Know It," "Rockin' Pneumonia") and for his 1960 hit "There Is Something On Your Mind." His body of recorded work, however, streched through to 1987 and included R&B, soul, funk and disco for labels including Ace, Fire, Stax, Dial, Cameo, Gamble and Mercury.

"(Ain't No Reason) For Girls To Be Lonely" was a one-off single for Gamble Records in 1967. Marchan explains how the more homely women (by reference to Joe Tex's hit "Skinny Legs and All") in his audience can improve their looks while the band lays down a driving, funky groove. I'm not sure if any musicians that would later form MFSB played on this, but the groove is hot! The lyrics are particularly funny for an additional reason: Marchan broke into show business as a female impersonator with the Powder Box Revue in New Orleans in the early '50s, so when he gets down to itemizing cosmetic goods ("they got wigs, and false eyelashes"), mewling the phrase "I ain't lying!" and ad-libbing at the end ("honey, they got wigs for $3.98"), it's a hoot.

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