So I’m back from my trip to London and I had a great time as usual. The main reason I was there of course was to see the mighty Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at The Roundhouse. It was my first time seeing the group and they certainly didn’t disappoint! Sharon’s performance was fantastic and what made it even more impressive was the amount of energy she was able to give to the show despite her very recent illness.
The next day I somewhat unexpectedly became aware of a Motown exhibition in the nearby Proud Camden in Camden Stables. This was a pictorial showcase of Motown through the ages and their numerous visits to Britain beginning way back in 1965 right through to the early 80s. Many of the photos are previously unseen and are available to buy, however their price exceeds my budget so I was more of an interested spectator than buyer.
These two events have therefore provided the inspiration for this week’s selection. As everyone knows, Gladys Knight was one of the biggest stars on the Motown label and during her show, Sharon Jones paid homage to her with a rousing cover of her take on “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. Now I’m pretty sure everyone on Earth has heard Marvin’s version but what surprised me was how few people knew of Gladys Knight’s. What makes it even more surprising is the fact that Glady’s version was actually released a year or so before Marvin’s classic (and a year or so after Smokey Robinson’s rejected version) and is therefore the “original” release of the song, something that many are unaware of. It’s hard to compare it to Marvin as his is one of the great soul records, but Gladys certainly puts her own stamp on it and produces something a little more uptempo & “funky”. Enjoy!!