Showing posts with label Carla Thomas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carla Thomas. Show all posts

Jan 1, 2017

Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes) on Live At The Bohemian Caverns (1961)

In any case, there can be no doubt that without Carla Thomas, Stax would not have developed in the way it did. “Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)” which Thomas had written as a poem when she was about fifteen and had then tucked away for a couple of years, became the fledgling label’s first big pop success in 1961. A fetching, delicate song with a flowery string arrangement that marvelously framed Thomas’ seven teen-year old voice (she would turn eighteen in December of 1960, four months after cutting “Gee Whiz”), the record reached #10 on the pop charts once it was rereleased by Atlantic. Thomas never had another pop hit as big as “Gee Whiz” (although “B-A-B-Y,” an Isaac Hayes and David Porter production released in 1966, came close), but the success of the record provided Stax with the recognition and capital it needed to move from a struggling little label to a major force in R&B and soul music.

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Carla Thomas 1966
Carla Thomas 1966
Although this single would eventually chart within the Top 10 on the pop chart and within the Top 5 on the R&B chart, it had an inauspicious beginning. Initially recorded at the Thomas family home, Rufus shopped the song to Vee-Jay Records in Chicago. Vee-Jay never followed through or actively pursued securing the distribution rights. Because of his belief in the song's potential, Rufus returned to Memphis and in the summer of 1960, Thomas would cut the teen love song that she wrote when she was only 15 years old. The song was released by Rufus and Carla in October 1960, to not much fanfare. However, by February 1961, the song was being distributed nationally through Atlantic Records just as Thomas was in the midst of her first year at Tennessee A&I University in Nashville. The success of the single also propelled Thomas into the spotlight, as she performed on American Bandstand. According to Thomas, “The record was young-sounding, romantic and it expressed what a lot of people wanted to say at that age, but still, I was surprised at how well it did”. Not only did this song provide a launching pad to Thomas' first album, but it also gave Stax Records national exposure and label recognition.

Similar Tracks

You Don't Miss Your Water by William Bell
B-A-B-Y by Carla Thomas
I Got a Sure Thing by Ollie & The Nightingales
Your Good Thing (Is About to End) by Mable John

Similar Artists

Otis Redding
Barbara Lynn
Dorothy Moore
Mary Wells