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.


Duffers said...

Another one who found your site through the Guardian! Great blog, fantastic podcasts. This blog is gonna cost me a fortune in CDs and vinyl!! Thanks for giving up so much of your time to educate us! Keep up the good work.

Amy said...

Yeah I found you through the Guardian too - am so happy, it's the blog of my dreams. Thanks very much.

Getty said...

Yep - I found you through the Guardian also. Fantastic site. Big thanks to you for ding such a wonderful thing.


ray fontiane said...

diggin' it!

Ian Green said...

I am now and addict. In the UK it is now 11.30 in the evening and I use you blog to complete my day! Bliss
God Bless You!
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Zak said...

Being from Detroit, it always makes me feel good to know how many people there are passionately digging up our lost treasures - thanks for this and keep it up!


Bo Nesto said...

Same here. Best thing I've ever found in the good ol' Guardian. Can't believe my luck. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Jason! Please keep putting beautiful music where we can hear it. Am just getting to the end of Stanley Winston on your very first "get on down" podcast and am already lookinf forward to the next 22! Bliss...
Daniel Nucinkis,
Southampton, England

(P.S. Can't resist a bit of advertising: my blog at isn't a proper blog, but a book written by a friend of mine. Check it out if you have the time. Very funny, irreverent political satire. Nuff said.)