Marva Whitney – 1969 – It’s My Thing

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Marva Whitney is a true legend among funk fans for her raw and powerful performances on classic cuts like ‘Unwind Yourself’ a Root Down dancefloor favourite.

Along with fellow divas Lyn Collins and Vicki Anderson, Marva made her name singing with the James Brown Revue in the late sixties. In 1969, Marva made her first solo recordings for James Brown’s King label scoring a Top 20 hit on the R&B charts with “It’s My Thing (You Can’t Tell Me Who to Sock It To)“.


The follow-up, “Things Got to Get Better (Get Together)” just missed the Top 20 R&B charts. Despite the lack of hits, tracks like the heavily sampled “Unwind Yourself” and the duet “You Got to Have a Job (If You Don’t Work)” helped cement her reputation among record collectors and funk fans worldwide.


Her only studio LP, ‘Its My Thing’, was released in 1969 (re-issued recently in the UK by Soul Brother records) and has been heavily bootlegged and sampled by numerous DJs; her ‘Live and lowdown at the Apollo’ LP also commands hefty price tags. The LP was basically a collection of singles Marva recorded with James Brown and his backing group of fine musicians.


1. It’s My Thing, Pt. 1
2. It’s My Thing, Pt. 2
3. Things Got to Get Better (Get Together)
4. What Kind of Man
5. If You Love Me
6. In the Middle [Instrumental]
7. Unwind Yourself
8. You Got to Have a Job (If You Don’t Work, You Can’t Eat)
9. I’ll Work It Out
10. Get Out of My Life
11. I’m Tired I’m Tired I’m Tired (Things Better Change Before It’s …)
12. Shades of Brown [Instrumental]
13. I Made a Mistake Because It’s Only You, Pt. 1
14. I Made a Mistake Because It’s Only You, Pt. 2
15. What Do I Have to Do to Prove My Love to You
16. He’s the One
17. This Girl’s in Love With You
18. Sunny – James Brown, Marva Whitney

The Soul Brothers Records reissue CD includes five bonus tracks, including a duet with James Brown (“Sunny”). Some of the tracks on this cd are made from a vinyl record you can hear the surface noise etc.

The Reviews
Like any disc produced by James Brown and featuring the mighty JB’s as a backing group, It’s My Thing is a stone-cold funky record. Marva Whitney sang in the James Brown Revue from 1967 to 1969, and in 1969 she released this record. Not only did Brown produce but he wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks and it basically sounds like a James Brown record with a female singer. A tough, aggressive female singer. Marva sounds like she could take any comers and leave them shaking in their go-go boots. From the opening blast of “It’s My Thing, Pt. 1 and “Pt. 2” a rewrite of the Isley Brothers’ It’s Your Thing, she shouts, exhorts, wails, and basically lets it all hang out as the band lays down groove after groove. Thankfully after four exhausting tracks, Marva slows it down with “If You Love Me“, an Otis Redding-style broken-hearted ballad. After an instrumental break she jumps right back into the funky fray with “Unwind Yourself“, which features a classic horn line and some gritty vocalizing from Marva. The rest of the record follows this pattern of a couple of stompers and a ballad. The highlight of the record is “I’m Tired I’m Tired I’m Tired (Things Better Change Before It’s Too Late)“, a funky (yes, every track on this disc is funky) lament that details just how tired Marva is of society putting her down. Check out Brown going wild in the background about halfway through the song. The disc has five bonus tracks added to the original album, including the slow-burning “I Made a Mistake Because It’s Only You, Pts. 1 2” and a duet with James Brown on “Sunny“. This is a great record and it is a pity that it is on such a tiny label and not one of the major reissue labels because Marva deserves wider recognition.

By all means seek this one out (AMG)



A wonderfully expanded version of this classic of funky funky female soul! Marva Whitney was one of the greatest singers in the James Brown stable of stars during the late 60s — and she sang with a hard raw style worth of The Godfather himself! Brother James produced and wrote a good part of this classic album — and the record is one of the greatest JB albums of all time! Nearly every cut’s a winner (Dusty Groove America)


What a voice this young lady had. Hard to imagine having marva whitney,lyn collins,myra barnes as your back up singers, but this is what james brown had. The jb’s lend there funk to the backing of this album, thats why “its my thing”, “unwind your self” are so god damd funky. In my opinion couple of the best female funk tracks ever put on vinyl. Marva Whitney had moderate sucess but not to the level she deserved. Propbably why this albulm origanal on vinyl go’s for over £100 mint. So feel blessed its available on cd. its a shame apart from the live albulm this being her only long player.


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Conversation for album: Marva Whitney – 1969 – It’s My Thing

  • liam
    Posted at 09:19h, 26 December 2008 Reply

    Awsome, Orsm, nothing else to say – Thanks

  • liam
    Posted at 09:36h, 26 December 2008 Reply

    I’m hungry for more. Have yet to hear a better song than Just Walk Away

  • Chris
    Posted at 10:54h, 18 February 2009 Reply

    I heard Marva (and Mary Love ) for the first time on saturdays ‘craid charles ‘ funk and soul show and loved them both.
    Looking forward to listening this

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