Big Town Boy / (You Can) Count On That - 7"
Tamarac - 1963
Shirley Matthews was born in shadow of Motown, in Harrow, Ontario, just south of Windsor, but eventually made her way up to r'n'b-obsessed Toronto, where she found herself gigging at the venerable old Club Bluenote on Yonge Street. It was there that she caught the attention of producer Bob Crewe, who whisked the young lady off to New York to record the massive-selling stormer 'Big Town Boy'. Released in December 1963 in Canada on Stan Klees' Tamarac label and down in the States on Atlantic, the record went top ten up here in Canuckistan and snagged Matthews an RPM Award for Female Vocalist Of The Year. And it's no wonder. 'Big Town Boy' is a supremely uplifting floor-filler, where Matthews' heady vocal virtually glides atop the back-up voices and intoxicating beat - a perfect example of early northern soul. Unfortunately, the song had to elbow its way onto black airwaves already crammed with the sweet sounds of bands like the Shirelles, the Chiffons and the Orlons to name only a few, and so 'Big Town Boy' only met with regional success south of the border. Still, paired with the souled-up backing vocals and hand claps on the flip's '(You Can) Count on That', this is an excellent double-sider definitely worth hunting down.
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