The Mirettes – Take Me for a Little While

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The Mirettes

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Listen – Take Me for a Little While MP3″

Greetings.
I had an excellent weekend, and I hope you all did too.
It’s finally cold (or cold-ish) here at the Jersey Shore, and I’m digging it. I’m no fan of the schizophrenic late fall/early winter weather (it was in the high 30’s on my way in to work this morning, it was 70 last Thursday…), and while I can guarantee that I’ll be griping about the cold in a few months, right now it’s a refreshing slap in the face.
I’ve lived in this area for roughly 40 of my 44 years, and I have always had a special affection for the shore in winter. My first apartment – lo these many years ago – was a (short) block from the ocean, and I’m here to tell you that there is great therapeutic value in the stillness of a beach devoid of tourists. It’s like one huge, picturesque watercolor, except you get the synesthetic addition of sound, smell and temperature. It’s beautiful.
My wife and I too our sons for a walk on the boardwalk on Saturday, and aside from the fact that I soon regretted not bringing gloves with me, it was a great experience. In all honesty I have to say that it was hard to complain when faced with the sight of several surfers bobbing in the waves. That – I explained to my three year old – is what is known as hardcore.
That said, I couldn’t be less enthusiastic about returning to work. I didn’t get my full allotment of sleep last night and the prospect of dealing with another dose of the Monday Morning Numbskull Onslaught is not an appealing one. I’ll get through it (I always do) but I’m not going to like it.
What better way to alleviate such a short term malaise than the power of an excellent soul 45 (which I will listen to several times while composing this post).
Today’s selection comes to us courtesy of a group that you may not know, but have certainly heard (in one form or another), the Mirettes.
Featuring Vanetta Fields, Robbie Montgomery and Jessie Smith, the Mirettes had all done time (and I use that phrase deliberately) as Ikettes, and struck out on their own in 1966, recording several 45s over the next four years for Mirwood, Minit, Revue and UNI (as well as an LP apiece for the last two labels).
They also – along with fellow ex-Ikettes like Clydie King, sang backup on countless records in the 60’s and 70’s. I remember knowing the names Clydie King and Vanetta Fields from LPs by cats like Leon Russell and groups like Humble Pie years before I ever encountered them in a “soul” context.
Today’s selection appeared both as a 45 and as a track on the Mirettes 1968 LP ‘In the Midnight Hour’. ‘Take Me For a Little While’ is of course a reworking of the tune originally recorded in 1965 by Evie Sands (and covered in this blog just about a year ago). Sands version is one of the all time great girl group/blue-eyed soul 45s of the 60’s. It’s a slow motion explosion of yearning that is the equal of anything the Ronettes ever laid down under the iron fist of Phil Spector.
The Mirettes kick the tempo up a few notches, taking the tune from its New York City roots into a more Detroit direction. This is not to say that ‘Take Me for a Little While’ is in any way a conventional, Motown-ish production. The tune does have a couple of incongruous, poppy touches (which don’t bother me a whole lot, but I can imagine a couple of your more devoted soulies getting their feathers ruffled). The ringing (and slightly out of tune) piano that opens the tune, as well as the odd, theremin-esque electronic keyboard that solos throughout the record, while not in any way out of place in the Top 40, aren’t exactly hallmarks of classic soul. The vocals are of course excellent (though I couldn’t tell you who’s singing lead). The Mirettes driven approach strips the song of some of its heartbreak and angst, but Sands original performance is so unique that any attempt to tread directly in her footsteps would have been ill-advised.
I’ll tell you one thing, if I were spinning a soul dance and needed to get the crowd moving, despite my deep and abiding love for the Evie Sands side, the Mirettes version of the tune is the one I’d reach for.

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11 Responses to “The Mirettes – Take Me for a Little While”

  1. Dan Says:

    This is fantastic, Larry, and that totally unique electronic keyboard really seals it for me – I just wish it were heard throughout the song.

    It’s interesting, I can still hear how the song was originally written for Sands – the Mirettes’ lead singer seems to use some of Sands’ phrasing style (while adding her own soulfulness).

  2. Jorge Augusto Says:

    Hi, Mr. Funky

    You must help me. The last week some bastards came to my home and stole all my stuffs: my tv, radio, some cash and, also, my computer. In that computer I got: “S.O.S. Heart in Distress’s files. Now this files are gone… oh my god! So, if you can send me those things I always be thankfull. But please, don’t forget about me and this tragedy.

    Sorry about my english

    Adios amigo

    Jorge

  3. Pete Gloria Says:

    Wow, top top stomper of a track.
    I also love ‘Now That I’ve Found You, Baby” by them, proper Northern good stuff.

  4. D.J.P. Says:

    Watch the sound level when recording your vinyl to MP3. The needle is really in the red zone on this one for some reason…

  5. Carlos Perez Says:

    Oh my god… I am addicted to your blog! I’ve visited your site several times (where I learned about and tracked down “Shhh (For a Little While)” but this is my first time on the blog.

    Your Mirettes write-up is fantastic! About a month ago, a friend was showing me a Humble Pie performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test british show. They had these great back-up singers, a trio. Now, I’m thinking that must have been the Mirettes!

  6. johnny soul Says:

    I am posting from Australia and wish to add that Vanetta Fields migrated down here in the early 80s. ( I’m not absolutely sure but I think she might have jumped ship from a Boz Scaggs tour -(?) but dont quote me on that. )She has enjoyed a career singing sessions and has released at least one album. etc and lives in a really nice tropical area on the north coast of my state.
    Just to illustrate the lengthy and varied career of people of this calibre , I once had a conversation with Cornel Dupree down here and when I informed him Vanetta was here he genuinely could not place her , even tho I have albums they’re both on. But then he could not recall all of the 2500 sessions he played.

  7. ian Says:

    Johnny Soul beat me to mentioning Vanetta Fields now lives in Australia.
    Apart from her solo singles and an album she is probably better known for John Farnham’s [Australian singer] back-ups for the past twenty years. And a regular gig with Carols By Candle-light. Didn’t she do The Acid Queen in a revival of TOMMY in the round a few years back?

    I was under the impression Renee Geyer convinced her to move here but that could well have been on the Bozz Scaggs tour as J.S. suggested.

    I’ve always been partial to The Mirettes’ “Heart Full Of Gladness” among other MCA things, and I have a soundtrack for, I think, a Sidney Poitier [don't quote me], movie they do several cuts on. [Red and black cover, title escapes me].

    Be interesting to have a log of just who she has worked with over the years. Total has to be in the thousands!

    ian

  8. Terry Says:

    I became a Mirettes fan from hearing that ultra funk ditty that they cut late in 1968 that sounded so great”In the midnight hour”,I use to have it on 45,I wonder if it’s available on any cd?

  9. Ward Whittaker Says:

    Great pictures. I just discovered this band after looking at Vanetta’s wikipedia site. I am a great fan of Vanetta’s, truth is I dated her for some months in 88 while she was doing Big River in Sydney. I would love to hear some of The Mirettes’ stuff. Is it available on MP3 anywhere. I live in Brazil these days and for sure I will not find it here on CD even if it exists.

  10. BusseyNova Says:

    Reading this blog while my family plays charades in the next room on christamas day, after a couple of days alone with your record collection and a bag of green and, more recently, most of a box of ale, I have to say you have surpassed all expectation of how good a record collector could possibly be. Thanks for keeping me so entertained , you have one more dedicated listener. Merry Christamas one and all! Tom

  11. Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles – Take Me For a Little While « Funky16Corners Says:

    [...] recorded many times, but featured at Funky16Corners in the past in versions by Evie Sands and the Mirettes. Written by Trade Martin, ‘Take Me…’ is a perfect example of the dawning of an era where [...]

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