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the online live music gig guide for the midlands

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Surge Music Gig Guide

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25 March 2017

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Band Info


When it comes to feisty femme funk or sassy sock-it-to-em soul, mighty Marva Whitney has no equal. Blessed with a lithe yet powerful church-raised voice, she first made her mark with the James Brown Revue in the late-1960s. Such was her impact during that time that she earned the titles "Marvellous Marva" and "Miss Excitement" for her dynamic stage performances. James Brown even went so far as to proclaim her "Soul Sister ..1". Many of the records she cut while she was the Godfather Of Soul's protégé are now extremely rare and eagerly sought after by Rare Groove disciples, who regard Marva as the funkiest of all James Brown's female singers.

By the mid-60s she had became lead singer for a local R&B group called Tommy and The Derbys. At the end of April 1967, James Brown visited Kansas again to play at the Memorial Hall. After the gig ended and the hall had cleared, Brown's bandleader, Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis, brought Marva onto the stage and went through some songs with her. He was evidently impressed by her audition and strongly urged The Godfather to hire the 23-year-old singer.

The rest is history. Songs like "I'm Tired I'm Tired I'm Tired" "What Do I Have To Do To Prove My Love To You" "It's My Thing" "Unwind Yourself" "Sunny" "You've Gotta Have A Job" "Things Got To Get Better" and "I Made A Mistake Because It's Only You" need no introduction.

Marva Whitney Gigs


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