Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
“Martha Reeves is the ultimate Motown diva with soul flowing from the tips of her toes to the last hair on her head. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.”
When looking for the perfect presentation of the Motown sound and style, few fit the bill as well as Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. It was 1963 when they moved from being Marvin Gaye’s original backup singers (“Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” “Pride & Joy,” “Hitch Hike”) to stars in their own right with the trifecta of “Come and Get These Memories,” “Heat Wave,” and “Quicksand.” Over the next decade, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas would be a consistent presence on the music charts, as well as on television and top venues across the US and abroad.
With the unmistakable voice that helped define “the sound of young America,” Reeves reigns as one of music’s most beloved and acclaimed female singers. As one reviewer recently exclaimed, “Martha Reeves is the ultimate Motown diva with soul flowing from the tips of her toes to the last hair on her head. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.” Reeves and her Vandellas – her sisters, Lois (who joined the group in 1967) and Delphine (who came aboard in 1980) – remain in high demand, heating up clubs, casinos, concert stages, colleges and music festivals across the globe.
Their hits are a thing of legend: In addition to the aforementioned, they include the gospel-tinged “Nowhere to Run,” the classic soul favorite “My Baby Loves Me,” the pop anthem “Jimmy Mack,” and the signature, “Dancing In The Street.” While best known for up-tempo, hard driving tunes, Reeves’ shows are often highlighted by jazzy renderings of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child,” her driving original blues “Watch Your Back” (both included in her self-produced CD “Home to You”), and the perennial showstopper, “Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things.”
As classics never fade, new and diverse audiences are constantly being introduced to the Martha Reeves songbook.
She has counted talents as diverse as James Brown and Beverly Sills among her singing partners. Robin Williams spun “Nowhere to Run” in Good Morning, Vietnam. Her version of the Van Morrison rocker, “Wild Night” was featured on the Thelma and Louise movie soundtrack. The boys in The Boys In The Band and Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 partied to “Heat Wave.” Everyone from Mick Jagger and David Bowie, the Mamas and the Papas, Dusty Springfield and the Grateful Dead have gone “Dancing In the Street.” Singers such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch and Jennifer Hudson sing her praises.