Year of Release: 1969
It's a little known and unexpected fact, but Irish showband performer Margo is something of a Northern Soul sensation. Her career started off in County Down in the group Margo and The Marvettes, whose single "When Love Slips Away" eventually became a treasured spin on the soul circuit. This is somewhat unsurprising, as the track has all the ingredients necessary and sounds positively American in every aspect of its delivery.
That this 1969 solo single of hers should be overlooked is actually more baffling. "The Spark That Lights The Flame" is a really underexposed gem, and should actually have been a shoe-in for Decca and Deram's somewhat uneven "Northern Soul" CD compilation. It outclasses a lot of the other more absurd choices on that LP, sounding for all the world like a lost Motown track, but perhaps lacking the directness of much of that work, meandering and moping around all over the show. A beautifully complex arrangement compliments a effective, sharp, pleading chorus and it's a lovely, brooding three minutes. Margo herself performs superbly, selling the track with all her might, never under or over playing her lines.
Margo, with or without her Marvettes, didn't manage to score any hits in her career, unfortunately - though 1981's "Behind The Footlights" was a minor success in Ireland - but was an ever-present force on the club circuit until 1980, usually touring with her husband Trevor Burns in the duo Take Two.
She remains periodically active to this day, and a brief documentary about her early career is available online, featuring tons of period Super 8 footage. How often do I get to say that? Never, that's how often.