Mirwood Records' second release was Jackie Lee's 'The Duck', an
uptempo soul swinger that became a big hit and established the
Mirwood sound. The house team of producer Fred Smith, arranger
James Carmichael, songwriter and backing voices arranger Sherlie
Matthews, along with contributions from veteran
singer/songwriters Bobby Relf and Earl Nelson (Bob & Earl), made
for uptempo soul perfection and they played that beat throughout
1965 and 1966.
More US chart action occurred for Mirwood with the Olympics and
Bob & Earl but much of their superlative work fell on deaf American
ears. It was the British soul aficionados of the early 70s who
discovered these masterpieces and played them on the burgeoning
Northern Soul scene with dancers revelling in the relentless beats,
pleading vocals and sassy female backing. Virtually any Jackie Lee
track was a worthy contender and although they never repeated his
'Duck' success, the company created soul classics like 'Do The
Temptation Walk', the later master tape discovery 'Anything You
Want (Any Way You Want It)' and the anthemic 'Oh My Darlin'.
Bob & Earl's hottest number was actually the backing track to
Bob's speedy 'My Little Girl', discovered as an accidental LP track
in the late 60s. Under the same alias, Bobby Garrett, he had another
monster sound with 'I Can't Get Away'. Sherlie Matthews composed
the hit 'Mine Exclusively' for the Olympics and, in a similar
stomping vein, wrote 'The Same Old Thing' for the group. She
penned 'Don't Pretend' for mystery trio the Belles, a studio group
consisting of herself along with the Holloway sisters Brenda and
Patrice, who were moonlighting while under contract at Motown
and Capitol, respectively.
Another Los Angeles stable under the auspices of Henry "Hank"
Graham threw the Performers into the mix with 'I Can't Stop You'
and renamed singer Jimmy Conwell as Richard Temple for a 45 that
epitomises Northern Soul 'That Beatin' Rhythm'; a credo for a cult.
More indie productions came from Eddie LaShae with the
Sheppards' redoubtable 'Stubborn Heart' and Sonny Knight's
production of Curtis Lee on his own 'Is She In Your Town'.
Ex-Ike Turner sideman Jimmy Thomas landed at Mirwood in 1966
where Bob Relf recorded him on his own 'Where There's A Will
(There's A Way)'. Thomas brought the Ikettes along with him; the
company switched their name to the Mirettes for the Sherlie
Matthews' song 'I Wanna Do Everything For You Baby'.