I guess the track by Detroit singer Leah Dawson that everyone knows is the thumping dancer “My Mechanical Man”. But good as it is I think that all the other tracks she cut knock that one into a cocked hat. Take the flip to the Magic City release for example. Strange Things Happen is a tasty ballad with some lovely bluesy touches in the piano and horns, well arranged by band leader Chocker Campbell. And Leah’s emotive tones and excellent sense of timing are much better served by this sort of material to my ears.
Leah’s second 45 for the Motor City’s “Matriarch of the Blues” Johnnie Mae Matthews continues this trend towards the bluesier side of soul music. The excellent uptempo “You Got To Change (Your Evil Ways)” features a really angry Leah vocal full of withering scorn. The other side is a fine deep ballad called A Good Man (Is All I Want) on which Leah is joined by a righteous group of female background singers. Really good music – note the involvement of Mack Rice on this 45. No wonder Okeh picked it up – but sadly sales didn’t match the heights of the tracks.