Fair Use disclaimer

All music presented on this site is shared under the premise of "fair use"; this site is solely intended for the purpose of education and critique. If you are a rights holder to any of the music presented and wish for it to be removed, simply contact me directly and it will be taken down.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SHIRLEY MATTHEWS AND THE BIG TOWN GIRLS- BIG TOWN BOY


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).

from 1967...

SHIRLEY MATTHEWS AND THE BIG TOWN GIRLS- BIG TOWN BOY

6 comments:

John.h2 said...

This has been a favorite track of mine ever since I first heard it some years ago. This track from 1963 (I guess 1967 is a typo). Not quite as good but worth checking out are Private Property/Wise Guys from 1964 also on Atlantic, and all three tracks feature on the CD Where The Girls Are Vol.4.

tut said...

I have the original Canadian version of this 45 as I live close to Toronto. You are not entirely correct about Toronto not being a home to soul singers. During the mid `60s there was a HUGE r`n`b and soul scene in Toronto..Jackie Shane ,frank motley,Shawn and Jay Jackson, the five rogues[george olliver] the list went on and on. Many artists made the trip from the U.S. to toronto and stayed because they found the reception very warm.

Derek See said...

Tut, I never said it was "not" a home to soul singers. I said that there weren't MANY native Canadian soul singers, specifically female. Americans that made Canada home are exempt.

Will said...

Charlie Callello was one great arranger and worked with so many stars. I've always loved this record. Great production

iheartCKLW said...

Hi Derek,
As John.h2 said, the single was released in 1963. A couple of stats:

Billboard's Bubbling Under chart: 64-1, #104

CHUM-AM (Toronto): 63-12, #4

GREAT tune, suprised it didn't do better in the States.

Ricardo Bianchard said...

Shirley Matthews died earlier this year. Not any notice in the press at all.

http://www.wardfuneralhome.com/book-of-memories/1461966/Vedder-Shirley/obituary.php