Saturday, June 13, 2009
Hot on the heels of the 1966 garage punk classic "Do You Have To Ask" by the Swinging Machine, Frank Guida released yet another two sided monster. "Working For My Baby" was an even bigger regional hit for the new label, and would become the record that launched the long career of Lenis Guess. The song was big enough to merit a re-release with a more uptempo b-side version on Guida's Legrand label. In fact, "Working For My Baby" possessed enough staying power that it was subsequently covered by Gary U.S. Bonds (with the exact same backing track, again on Legrand), as well as blue eyed soul rockers King Edward & His BD's (Roga), and then Lenis came back a couple years later to make another run at it on the New Faces '68 label.
Here we spotlight the flip side of the original S.P.Q.R. release. "Just Ask Me" has been getting attention in Northern Soul circles for quite some time, and with good reason. The pounding drums and huge bottom end are hall marks of Frank Guida's "Norfolk Sound". Staccato horn lines build on the intensity. Lenis's excellent lead is supported beautifully with soaring backing vocals that make everything complete. An underrated piece of heavenly soul stomp if ever there was one.
Lenis Guess went on to sing on a number of records, and more importantly, became a true force in the Tidewater music scene, writing, producing and releasing countless masterpieces. Mr. Guess continues to work tirelessly in the entertainment business, and has even tried his hand in the movies. Check out his website,
lenisguess.com, to see what this multifaceted artist, entrepreneur and ultimate producer is up to these days.(FUNKY VA.)