Levy, Marcy - 1982 Marcella

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset


ARTIST: Levy, Marcy
ALBUM: Marcella
SERIAL: FC 37688
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Marcy Levy - vocals

Additional Musicians: Richard Feldman, Don Felder, Scott Shelly - guitars * Bob Glaub, Trey Thompson - bass * Walt Richmond, Jai Winding, Alan Pasqua - piano * Casey Young - synthesizer programming * John Boylan - synthesiser, clavinet, hammond B3 * Michael Botts, Jamie Oldaker - drums * Rick 'Moon' Calhoun, Tommy Funderburk, Max Gronenthal, Richard Page - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Close To Her * 02 First Invasion * 03 All My Love * 04 Waiting On You * 05 Life Is On The Line * 06 I Can't Stand It * 07 Get To Know You * 08 I Can't Wait That Long * 09 To You * 10 Love Side


It's been a while since I've put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) but since this site is primarily concerned with classics from a bygone era and we've had a spate of re-releases recently (courtesy of the excellent Rock Candy Records) this prompted my musings below.

The prodigious Marcy Levy (aka Marcella Detroit) took up violin at the tender age 8 years old, then ukulele, and guitar by age 11, she eventually wound up recording with none other than Eric 'Slowhand' Clapton himself on his '461 Ocean Boulevard' album.

After a brief stint touring with Leon Russell, Marcy was invited to Jamaica to see her old band (who'd been signed up by Clapton) just as they were recording Clapton's 'There's One in Every Crowd' album. She ended up singing backing vocals and three days later Eric asked Marcy to join the band.

Three days progressed into four years of touring, writing and recording with Clapton, her most notable co-write being the 1977 classic 'Lay Down Sally'. At the end of 1978, Marcy wanted to kick off her own career and moved to Los Angeles, California.

She ended up doing lots of session work for people like Aretha Franklin, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, Bette Midler, and Phil Collins. This culminated in a deal with Epic and the solo album 'Marcella' which was recorded with the assistance of guitarist Richard Feldman who it is understood was her boyfriend at the time.

The Songs

Marcy managed to persuade a list of seasoned veterans to turn up and play on her album, presumably as a result of her extensive session work and coupled with her aesthetic appeal how could they refuse?

The line-up included Trey Thompson (Black Rose, Channel), Don Felder (the Eagles), Alan Pasqua (Prism, Giant, Van Stephenson, Whitesnake) Tommy Funderburk (Airplay, Boston, What If) enough to pique the curiosity of all but the most jaded of AOR fanatics.

The album is predominantly lightweight and the quality of the material does waver in places although it is beautifully produced and played throughout.

Its appeal is firmly squared at lovers of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, Sandy Stewart et al, plus anyone else who has a preference for melodic rock with a highly polished sheen.

Things get off to a promising start with the plaintive opening strains of 'Close To Her'. However 'First Invasion' leaves me unmoved and the power ballad 'All Of My Love' is just plain soppy, even for a born sentimentalist like myself (you won't catch me holding my lighter aloft for this one).

Fortunately Marcy ups the tempo before I'm lulled into a sleep induced coma as 'Waiting On You' is much more lively - choppy guitar and harmonica combine to great effect.

'Life Is On The Line' is even better, drenched in atmospherics, all pulsating synthesizers and Richard Feldman's powerful but understated guitar fills.

'I Can't Stand It' is slow burning mid tempo AOR of the finest sort, though why anyone would want to play hard to get with the lovely Marcy is beyond me.

The memorable 'Get To Know You' is essentially lightweight, but the instrumental bridge features some solid riffing and a well oiled guitar solo from then beau Richard Feldman.

Well it sounds like Marcy is headed for another heartbreak on the haunting 'I Can't Wait That Long', but she does sound more upbeat on the unashamedly romantic 'To You'. This time I'm reaching for the Kleenex rather than the sick bag.

The album is rounded off in style with the solid rocker 'Love Side' featuring guest vocalist Max Gronenthal (aka Max Carl) and Don Felder from that little known country rock outfit the Eagles.

In Summary

Surprisingly, the album failed to make a dent in the US charts and Marcy hooked up with Eric Clapton's band again culminating in a performance at 'Live Aid' in June 1985.

She finally found fame and fortune when asked by Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama to become a part of Shakespear's Sister. During that time she changed her name to Marcella Detroit to 'give her a new lease on life'.

They ended up recording two albums together, the second one, 'Hormonally Yours' (on which Marcy was mainly vocally featured) included the smash hit single 'Stay', which was number one for eight weeks in England and also was in the top five in the Billboard charts in America in 1992.

I guess it's fairly safe to assume Marcy has well and truly ditched her AOR pretensions, as there is no mention of this album on her own website.

A re-release of this album on CD with her blessing however would be welcomed with open arms by the AOR fraternity I'm sure..

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