25 April 2021

Marjorine - I Live/ Loving Shrine

Likeable Howard and Blaikley pop track washed up on to a reggae label 

Label: Pyramid
Year of Release: 1969

Most record collectors in the UK will recognise the Pyramid label as a source of some of the best sixties reggae 45s, issuing records by respected names such as Desmond Dekker and The Maytals. The sight of its logo in a charity shop box is enough to get the average ageing rude boy's heart racing, and usually for fair reasons.

There were, however, a couple of moments when the label threw everyone a serious curveball while trying to diversify their product. Once was when they issued the psychedelic stomp of Staveley Makepeace's "I Wanna Love You Like A Mad Dog", which had about as much to with reggae as this blog has to do with embroidery. The other moment was when this Howard and Blaikley penned ballad slid out by the group Marjorine.

The group apparently came from Jersey and there's a black and white photo of them over on the Discogs site, but all other details about them seem to have evaporated into thin air in the following decades. The A-side here is a smooth and well-arranged Hollies-esque ballad with majestic brass backing and confident vocal harmonies, but isn't quite strong enough to sound like a probable hit. In typical Howard/Blaikley fashion, though, the melodies twist around your head beautifully and enable Marjorine to sound a lot more confident than your average bunch of plucky unknowns on a small independent label.

The flipside "Loving Shrine" doesn't have their involvement and is a much more obvious mid-sixties beat throwback, having a naive and pounding innocence.

I wouldn't even care to stab a guess at who Marjorine were, so if you know, please do leave a comment. It would be interesting to know what happened to them after this.

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