Marva Whitney

It's My Thing

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Like any disc produced by James Brown and featuring the mighty JB's as a backing group, It's My Thing is a stone-cold funky record. Marva Whitney sang in the James Brown Revue from 1967 to 1969, and in 1969 she released this record. Not only did Brown produce but he wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks and it basically sounds like a James Brown record with a female singer. A tough, aggressive female singer. Marva sounds like she could take any comers and leave them shaking in their go-go boots. From the opening blast of "It's My Thing, Pt. 1 and "Pt. 2," a rewrite of the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing, she shouts, exhorts, wails, and basically lets it all hang out as the band lays down groove after groove. Thankfully after four exhausting tracks, Marva slows it down with "If You Love Me," an Otis Redding-style broken-hearted ballad. After an instrumental break she jumps right back into the funky fray with "Unwind Yourself," which features a classic horn line and some gritty vocalizing from Marva. The rest of the record follows this pattern of a couple of stompers and a ballad. The highlight of the record is "I'm Tired I'm Tired I'm Tired (Things Better Change Before It's Too Late)," a funky (yes, every track on this disc is funky) lament that details just how tired Marva is of society putting her down. Check out Brown going wild in the background about halfway through the song. By all means seek this one out. [Some reissues add five bonus tracks, including the slow-burning "I Made a Mistake Because It's Only You, Pts. 1 & 2" and a duet with James Brown on "Sunny."]

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