Even though the audience for the music was/is massive in the country, not many soul singers called Toronto (or Canada in general) home, making Ontario native Shirley Matthews a rare bird indeed!
Her story is certainly similar to so many vocalists in that she grew up singing in her church, and as a young adult began moonlighting as a singer in Toronto clubs while working at bell telephone by day. Apparently one of (New York producer) Bob Crewe's talent scouts caught her on stage and made arrangements for a session with Crewe, the results of which became a Canadian smash and a small hit in the US.
The record certainly shows a strong Motown influence, with superb energy, fantastic vocals and some almost jarring key changes that still work, defying odds. Shirley could never match its success, and by 1967 was out of the music business and managing health clubs (which she allegedly does to this very day).
SHIRLEY MATTHEWS AND THE BIG TOWN GIRLS- BIG TOWN BOY