Marcella Detroit

London Records celebrates 30 years of Marcella Detroit’s album ‘Jewel’, re-issuing it on sapphire blue vinyl and an expanded 2CD and digital set on 21st June.

The expanded CD and digital editions take in the original album, plus B-sides, unreleased demos and live versions and remixes from the likes of The Beloved, Way Out West, D.O.P, Youth and Masters At Work’s Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez.

Marcy Levy (aka Marcella Detroit) has been forever immersed in music – writing, performing and producing music her entire life. After first conquering her hometown Detroit, Michigan (which would become her stage moniker), word quickly spread of Marcy’s abilities, and she would soon decamp first to Tulsa and then to Los Angeles to collaborate with a formidable and varied array of talents including her hero Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Belinda Carlisle, Bette Midler, Bob Seger and Chaka Khan.

One of Marcy’s most fruitful working relationships would be with Eric Clapton, with whom she would tour (including a performance at 1985’s  Live Aid) and record with over several years, co-writing one of his biggest hits, “Lay Down Sally” and several of his other tracks including “The Core”, “Promises” and “Tangled in Love”.

Eventually settling back into LA in the late 80s, Marcy started writing towards her own project and was introduced by a mutual friend to Siobhan Fahey, who’d recently ensconced the UK and her former band Bananarama for sunnier climes, and their sessions together would eventually form into Shakespears Sister.

Marcy’s extraordinary vocal range would prove the perfect foil to Siobhan’s deep dark tones. The ripples the band first caused at the end of the 80s turned into a huge splash in 1992 with their hit, “Stay”, which topped the UK single charts for 8 consecutive weeks – the longest run ever for a female band – and a top 5 worldwide.

The monster success of “Stay” and its accompanying video played into people’s (mis)conceptions of Marcella and Siobhan’s relationship – a chiaroscuro mix of high/low, angel/devil, Davis/Crawford rivalry – and in some ways, fed the pressure and expectations around the promotion and touring for the accompanying album ‘Hormonally Yours’, eventually pushing the band to their curtain call. By 1993 Siobhan was ready to return to Los Angeles to spend time with her family.

It was time for Marcy to step into the ring with a solo offering. Opting to stay on in London (which had become her adopted home during Shakespears Sister’s busy years) she set to work with esteemed producer Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, The Beatles, U2). Pulling together a crack team of musicians and some notable guests (including Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, Jools Holland on organ and guitarist James “Sparks” Sinclair) they set up base at Olympic Studios and set to work on the folio of songs Marcy had amassed.

The resultant album was appropriately titled ‘Jewel’, a sparkling showcase not only of Marcy’s considerable vocal talents, but her versatility as a writer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. ‘Jewel’’s bold strokes traverse everything from stirring pop-balladry of “I Believe”, to the leftfield funk of “Cool People” and “Perfect World”, and operatic melodrama of “Art of Melancholy” and “Prima Donna”, Marcy’s pitch-perfect delivery always upfront and centre stage.

Released in March 1994, ‘Jewel’ enjoyed considerable success in the UK, three of its singles going Top 40, including a duet with none other than Sir Elton John on a rendition of the Motown classic “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”.

Tracklisting – Vinyl Edition

A1. Jewel

A2. I Believe

A3. Perfect World

A4. Art of Melancholy

A5. James Brown

A6. Detroit

B1. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing (with Elton John)

B2. I’m No Angel

B3. I Want To Take You Higher

B4. You Don’t Tell Me Everything

B5. Cool People

B6. Out Of My Mind

B7. Prima Donna

Tracklisting – Expanded CD and Digital Editions

Disc 1

  1. Jewel
  2. I Believe
  3. Perfect World
  4. Art of Melancholy
  5. James Brown
  6. Detroit
  7. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing
  8. I’m No Angel
  9. I Want To Take You Higher
  10. You Don’t Tell Me Everything
  11. Cool People
  12. Out of My Mind
  13. Prima Donna
  14. I Feel Free
  15. Shadow
  16. Break The Chain
  17. Monday Morning
  18. You Own The Moon
  19. Crucify Me

Disc 2

  1. I Believe (Acoustic)
  2. I’m No Angel (Acoustic)
  3. Out Of My Mind (Acoustic)
  4. Perfect World (Acoustic)
  5. You Don’t Tell Me Everything (Acoustic)
  6. Lay Down Sally
  7. Stay (Live At Jazz Café, 1994)
  8. Second Class Citizen
  9. Prima Donna (Longer Version)
  10. Perfect World ’95 (Radio Mix)
  11. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing (Kenny Dope Extended Mix)
  12. I Feel Free (Full Cream Mix) remixed by The Beloved
  13. I Want To Take You Higher (Vertigo Mix)
  14. Perfect World ’95 (Youth’s Vocal Session)
  15. I Feel Free (Panic In Detroit Mix)
  16. I Believe (Natural Mystic Mix) remixed by The Beloved