Buddy Guy’s Legends is pleased to welcome Marvin Smith to the club on Sunday, May 8.
That’s right: the accomplished soul singer, who fronted several groups in the 50s and 60s before setting out on a robust solo career, will be singing at the club on Mother’s Day. Dads, bring the mothers of your children. Children (and as everyone knows you will always be her baby), do something nice for your mom.
Smith began singing with the El Dorados in 1957. The group, named after Cadillac’s two-door model, needed a new vocalist after loosing three of them–the result of a money dispute with Vee Jay, the group’s former label. Renowned for his equally deft utilization of natural and falsetto pitch, he’d been singing on street corners and in church choirs after his family moved to the west side of Chicago in the late 40s. Changing their name to Those Four El Dorados to avoid a legal dispute, the 1958 single “A Lonely Boy,” soon followed. Eventually moving to the west coast and signing to Rhythm Record Company, the label of former NBA star Don Barksdale, the group changed names yet again, this time to the Tempos, before splitting up for good in 1961.
It was after this that Smith finally found a groove in the recording industry, replacing Charles Davis to become lead singer for the Artistics. The group’s singles, from“Got to Get My Hands on Some Lovin” to “This Heart of Mine,” steadily creeped up the charts before the conflagration that was “I’m Gonna Miss You,” which soared to number nine on the R&B charts and number 55 on Billboard’s Pop 100 to become their best-seller. Eventually, Smith desired more autonomy, quitting the Artistics to go solo while continuing to sing on studio recordings. (The singles that he had a hand in, such as “Girl I Need You,” continued to chart.)
On his own Smith recorded the singles “Time Stopped/Have More Time” and “I Want (Something to Remember You By/Love Ain’t Nothin’ But Pain.” His last single, “Hold On,” was released in tandem with his brief rejoining of the Artistics in the late 1967. The reunion saw to acclaimed albums, The Articulate Artistics and What Happened, but was short-lived: Smith went solo for good in 1970. (Years later he resurrected the group with former members Tommy Green, Robert Dobyne and Larry Johnson.)
Smith and the groups he fronted are classic Chicago soul–highly orchestrated, with strong melodies, and laid-back vocal harmonizing. It’s rare to gain access to one of the links of such a strong and illustrious chain. This is definitely one to catch!