Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Major Lance - "Investigate"


There are a few artists whose records I just seem to have a knack for finding. By that, I mean not only running across their old 45's but also different titles nearly every time. Recently, Lavern Baker and Chuck Berry fall into that category. Over the past year plus, I've scored lots of records by each without lightening my wallet much at all.

Then, there are artists whose records I almost never see, even though they may have charted several discs. Major Lance is one of those. I can't even seem to find a clean copy of his big hit "The Monkey Time", let alone anything else by him. That is, until I recently picked up today's record, "Investigate". And, of course, it never charted at all, making me think that it might be a tougher find than the average Major Lance single.

"The Monkey Time" was Major Lance's first hit record, from the summer of 1963. Over the next couple of years, he'd have varying chart success with several more singles, all for the Okeh label. From 1966, "Investigate" was among his last releases on the imprint. He went on to record for several other labels, including Dakar, Curtom and Volt.

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure that "Investigate" was the intended a-side of today's disc but it sure should have been. Built on an irresistible hook, the song isn't quite as wild as many of the tunes featured on It's Great Shakes but is terrific nonetheless. It's upbeat, with a somewhat sweet sound. Indeed, I even detect a touch of bubblegum, before there was such a thing. The song has a very strong beat, plenty of backing vocals and a horn lead instrumental break. And, of course, the lead vocal is excellent. I can imagine this filling a few dance floors, especially among the northern soul set. The rest of you should enjoy it too. I certainly do.

6 comments:

Jason X said...

Interesting post Todd. I'd love to hear this one. You know, for some reason I do not own ONE single on this label....so sad....

SHINDIGGIT!

Anonymous said...

I second that. for some reason there are no mp3's of the music, unless i'm missing the links somewhere....

are there any mp3's of the 45's?

Todd Lucas said...

Sorry, we're mp3-less.

Anonymous said...

cut it out, yer a teaser mp3-less=no interest-less
mark e smith.

Todd Lucas said...

Alas, gone are the days when someone would go track down a record based on a written review. How did we ever survive back in the pre-net days?

Honestly, I'd love to be able to post mp3's of everything here. However, I don't currently have that capability nor is it likely that I will anytime soon.

Brian Marshall said...

So, get off yer lazy butts and seek out the record yourself. Get out there and work like we have to.