Martha's magic is still casting a spell

It's been more than 50 years since Martha Reeves first stepped aboard the Motown Review with the likes of Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and the Miracles.

Sunday, 4th June 2017, 3:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:15 pm

Along with her backing group the Vandellas, Martha had provided backing vocals for Marvin Gaye’s first three hit records but soon she was hitting the charts in her own right.

From the early 1960s Martha Reeves and the Vandellas would be a consistent presence in the pop, rhythm and blues charts, as well on television and in top venues around the world. Her unmistakable voice helped define ‘the sound of young America’ and Martha still reigns today as one of music’s most beloved and acclaimed female singers.

On stage she is a true live wire - dancing, strutting, keeping the beat with her tamborine and keeping audiences on their feet.

Whether she is performing solo or with the Vandellas, Martha continues to bring her magic to concert platforms, music festivals and clubs.

Her hits have gone down in music legend: the gospel-tinged Nowhere to Run, the classic soul favourite My Baby Loves Me, the pop anthem Jimmy Mack and, of course, her signature tune Dancing in the Street.

While best-known for her up-tempo, driving tunes, Martha also performs jazz and blues numbers with ease and aplomb.

Her story is familiar to her many fans: after graduating from high school she performed in clubs before being invited for an audition with the fledgling Motown label.

She made herself useful while waiting for her turn by answering the phone and taking messages and soon she was an invaluable administrator, scheduling recording sessions and interacting with musicians and performers.

But all the time she was waiting for the right moment to perform and one day, when Mary Wells missed a session, she seized her chance, stepped up to the mic and was rewarded with a contract! She left the A/R department to become one of Motown’s most enduring stars.

Over the years, Martha has sung with James Brown and Beverley Sills and her songs have featured on films as varied as ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’, ‘Thelma and Louise’ and ‘Sister Act’.

‘Dancing in the Street’ has been covered by Mick Jagger and David Bowie, the Mamas and the Papas, Dusty Springfield and the Grateful Dead.

Now fans of Martha Reeves & the Vandellas will be able to enjoy the classic hits when they stop off at the Picturedrome, Holmfirth on Friday, June 16. The show will include a soul DJ.

The box office is on 0844 780898 or picturedrome. net