11th November 2015
Title: Gayle McCormick
A lost soul-pop ‘great’? McCormick was singer in The Smiths (no, not those), this version was a rock band with added soul and pop, active in 1968 until they transformed into A Group Called Smith.
Spotted by Del Shannon and then Dunhill Records’ Steve Barri, A Group Called Smith were a band that were screeching towards stardom, cutting a single, Baby It’s You, the same song made famous by the Beatles and The Shirelles.
The band, underwent a quick name abbreviation down to Smith and hit No 5 in the charts with their new single. They were then included on the Easy Rider LP soundtrack with their song, The Weight. Success seemed a step away. Then their second album bombed.
McCormick headed for the exit door and a new solo album, featured on this CD. The style would be Northern soul dance beat in flavour. Backed by a selection of top session men including Hal Blaine on drums, Ray Pohlm and and Carol Kaye on bass, Ben Benay on guitar, McCormick was to release the first track on the album (and this CD) as a single.
It’s A Crying Shame did become a Northern soul floor filler as McCormick appeared on TV shows to promote the single but it stalled, grinding to a halt.
Surely the problems with this LP were down to fashion rather than talent because this was and remains a cracking album. The single track is catchy, simple, direct and sung with a lusty soul pop voice. Leon Russell’s Superstar is sang with a confidence and composure and a bass-infused delivery that adds gravitas to her presentation while her take on A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like) has a swaggering swing that draws you in on a basic emotional level. Soul fans need to check this one out.