Find someone who claims to have never heard ‘Dancing in the Street’ and you are either being lied to or talking to someone who grew up in a monastery where only bell chiming and monastic chanting were deemed musically acceptable.
You don’t have to be a Martha and the Vandellas fan to know songs by them. Like birdsong and the Corrie theme tune, tracks by Martha and co permeate the public ‘s inner ear. Or put more simply: Martha and the Vandellas produced many Motown classics: ‘Jimmy Mack’, ‘Nowhere to Run’ and ‘Third Finger Left Hand’ (OK maybe not the last one but this reviewer had to sandwich in a personal fave).
Their songs are harder, faster, stronger than the likes of The Supremes, and the Ronnettes. Unlike other motown girl groups the Vandellas and soloist Martha in particular, had a bit more sass ‘ illustrated in both the vocal performance and Martha’s focused determination in getting her chance to perform. Martha (real name) Lavaille never auditioned but after a year of working at Motown record’s HQ ‘Hitsville, USA’ she covered for singer Mary Wells recording ‘I’ll Have to Let Him Go,’ with Wells backing singers the Del Phi’s and Martha and the Vandellas were born.
Fifty years later and they’re back playing two December dates (19th & 20th) at the Jazz Café, Camden. Expect a few carols thrown in for good measure and other soul classics from the original Martha Reeves, who after serving four years as a councilor in Detroit, is back to full-time touring.
Standing tickets at £28.35 (£25 in advance) are still available. Click here http://venues.meanfiddler.com/jazz-cafe/full-listings/featured-gigs/7844/martha-reeves-&-the-vandellas to book. Doors open at 7pm.