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Mega-voiced, Marge Simpson-haired vocalist Liz Lands is the absolute archetype of a singer Motown simply didn’t know what to do with. Hailing from the Georgia Sea Islands with a background in gospel and some classical training, Liz came to Berry Gordy’s attention performing at one of Dr Martin Luther King’s benefit shows, supporting Harry Belafonte. Her astounding vocal range, supposedly spanning five octaves, has become her biggest claim to fame, but it also stopped her finding a real niche at Motown, instead usually being encouraged to show off that range on every track she cut regardless of the actual tune in question.
Perhaps because of this lack of proper direction, Liz never had anything close to a hit – although millions heard her glass-shattering high voice on Mary Wells’ Oh Little Boy, B-side to the mega-hit My Guy – and she ended up leaving Motown in 1964, going on to rack up quite a catalogue of singles for various labels in the Sixties and Seventies, at one point ending up as lead singer on a bunch of Bohannon albums (following in the footsteps of fellow sometime Motown signing Carolyn Crawford). Liz Lands passed away in 2013.
Review Archive: Liz LANDS (6 items)
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