Driving Miss Whitney

A couple of years ago, I had the absolute pleasure of picking up Marva Whitney from Heathrow for a gig she was performing at http://www.southamptoncellar.com/

Jonny, owner of The Cellar, and I were nervous about meeting one of our idols, but we really shouldn’t have been: she was a joy to be around and the three hours spent with her flew by. At one point, he took a wrong turn and we ended up in a cul-de-sac, so Jonny turned the car around, declaring that we were “on the right road now” to which Ms Whitney burst into song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htsWm8IVt1A

Even though we both shave our heads, what few hairs we have on the backs of our necks promptly came to life and I know I had a shiver down my spine. There, in the back of the car, was James Brown’s Soul Sister # 1.
Luckily for me, Jonny had to split as we approached Hedge End. A family crisis (Connor had lost his rugby boots or something) meant that we had to switch to my car and complete the journey to the hotel as a duet … and no, that doesn’t mean I started singing to her, though thinking about it now it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I saw her up to her room where she promptly gave me a big hug and a kiss and told me she’d see me at the gig.
In case you don’t know just how good she is, here’s a few tunes to whet your appetite:

First up, is a track I’ve played out at just about every gig and party I’ve ever played, the incomparable
(WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO) TO PROVE MY LOVE TO YOU? (spot the horn sample in the middle, as used by Public Enemy) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrGSdrznBYw&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLAE2975CCA4F2E885
IT’S MY THING :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isarLYyK7Hs&feature=related
IN THE MIDDLE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONLLd7Tao4Y&feature=fvst
GET TOGETHER : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7LaiwvbFeA

I got a bit creative with the whole day and came up with a couple of those name cards that you see drivers holding up, usually rather wearily, at airports arrival halls the world over. The difference with us was, we were actually jumping up and down with excitement and the cards themselves were based on a couple of Ms Whitney’s album covers:



She signed the one above and gave me both her phone number and her email address and added that if I was ever in Charlotte, NC, I should give her a call … all in all, I was very, very happy.


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