Friday, 25 July 2014

The Speciality of the Day


I’m afraid I can’t tell you much about Marvin A Waters, the man behind this week’s audio atrocity, or about his companies Marvin Waters Records and Marvin Waters Music (BMI). I can tell you that he was born in 1940 and that he’s still alive, aged 73, and still living in Columbus, Georgia, where he built his empire. I can tell you that he was raised in Cordele, Georgia before relocating to Columbus and – before he started to list himself as a ‘songwriter and singer’ – he was involved with the US Job Corps service, working from centres in California and Indiana and using the pages of their magazine the Corpsman to solicit young female pen pals in 1969.

He’s listed in the US phone book. Maybe one day I’ll give him a call.

Today’s tracks come from a 1989 release on Marvin Waters Records. Marvin Waters Records appears to be some sort of song poem/vanity hybrid – an operation not dissimilar to those of Norridge Mayhams and Nick Gilio – so this particular record is a bit of an oddity, with both Speciality You and You Can Go Take a Walk having been written by someone other than Marvin himself. Unfortunately the composer (one Miguel de la Vega) seems to be even more elusive than Mr Waters: there are other people of the same name (including a young Latino singer) around and active today, but this particular Senor Vega seems to have vanished.

Speciality You is a hopeless recording if there ever was one, suffering from stumbling keyboards, dreadful delivery from Marvin and what appears to be the wrong title: it’s clear from Marvin’s vocals that the song should be called ‘Specially You, not Speciality You – my guess is that the title on the label is a misprint. B-Side You Can Go Take a Walk is little better: both songs were clearly recorded in one take and one must assume that Marvin is also responsible for the useless keyboard playing. Rarely has the instrument sounded more tortured – apart that is form the truly horrific piano plonking on Grace Pauline Chew’s releases.

There were at least four 45s released on Marvin Waters Records, although judging by the catalogue numbers that have so far surfaced I would assume there are a load more somewhere:

A-9144: If You Ever Need Jesus/Why Don’t You Wake Up (both sides written by Marvin Waters) (1987)
A-9179: Speciality You/You Can Go Take a Walk (both sides written by Miguel de la Vega) (1989)
A-9190: Tired of my Kisses/Bayou Blue (1989)
A-9209: Get Out of Here/Wanted Again (1990)

Marvin composed several other songs – some of which may well have featured on other Marvin Waters Records releases, including God is so Good to Me (1983) and In the Night (also 1983), with music by Marvin Waters and words by Robert Gerold Register. To add to Marvin’s song-poem credentials, God is so Good to Me was originally recorded by song-poem superstar Buddy Raye (aka Elmer Plinger, Dick Castle and so on) on a Sunrise records gospel compilation Praising His Heavenly Light.


1 comment:

  1. absolutely sublime compositions & recordings. Way too good for thes web-site.


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