Although more known for blues songs like “Candy,” “Gabbin’ Blues,” and the original version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (later made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis), Big Maybelle (Smith) continued to make great music well into the 60’s. Unfortunately, her heroin habit and bad health eventually got the best of her as she died of a diabetic coma in 1972 at age 47.
Northern Soul fans have rediscoverd some of her tunes sung for Rojac Records in the late 60’s (not to be confused with Rojac Records of Hip Hop). Some of them are quite marvelous, especially her remake of ? and the Mysterians “96 Tears” and the incredible stormer “Quittin’ Time.”
I can’t embed either of the previous two tunes, but I can embed a video made of someone playing “I Can’t Wait Any Longer” (also for Rojac) that’s considered one of the best Northern Soul songs ever. Here’s that video:
A smart label should really pick up and remaster her tunes from the Rojac Records period. I’ve now heard four terrific tunes from her and have a feeling there are other great ones to be had as well.