Marlena Shaw – California Soul / Wade In The Water
(£5.99 Incl VAT)
A1: California Soul
B1: Wade In The Water
Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM
Not so long ago Marlena Shaw was a forgotten figure. The talented vocalist had made several LPs for respected labels such as Cadet and Blue Note, and she'd performed regularly throughout the 60s and 70s. But she hardly had what you might call diva status. Falling into the unfortunate category that slips uneasily between soul and jazz, she was accepted - but not especially admired - by aficionados of either genre. Then came the 90s, THAT sample on Blueboy's "Remember Me" and a more open-minded enthusiasm for soul, jazz and everything in between. Marlena Shaw became an icon, and the diva status soon blossomed amongst her new-found soul-jazz fans.
"California Soul", taken from her 1969 "Spice Of Life" LP is probably the most enduring and well-known of her many songs, but just a few seconds listening will tell you that it is much more than that. It's already a classic amongst those who have already seen the light and have danced and swayed to its timeless swing.
The flipside, "Wade in the Water", is an ancient song rumoured to have been developed by African slaves in American south. The message is to pass on the notion that by running through streams and rivers, the scent that bloodhounds may follow will be obscured. Marlena romps through this uptempo number, which has long been a favourite dancefloor filler since its 45-only release back in 1966.