WITHIN EVERY Invictus and Hot Wax group there is a winner. General Johnson showed up with the Chairmen, Steve Mancha turned up singing lead for 100 Proof and we’ve now found out that the lead voice with 8th Day on their million selling ‘She’s Not Just Another Woman’ is none other than Melvin Davis, whose fame goes back to my Action days when both ‘Save It’ and ‘Love Bug Got A Bear Hug’ were released on the label. Furthermore, we can now safely dispel rumours that 8th Day is 100 Proof.
As their name hints, the 8th Day includes eight people – there’s Melvin, who is lead voice when the group turns to R&B, Tony Newton, Michael Anthony, Carole Stallings and Anita Sherman, all of whom are Black. Then there’s Bruce Nazarian, Jerry Paul and Lynn Harter, all of whom are White.
The group was actually the brainchild of Messrs. Holland, Dozier and Holland, who brought Tony Newton away from Motown, where he was playing bass for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – he came to Britain in that capaity with the Motown Revue back in ’65. Tony then gradually pieced the band together bringing musicians from Los Angeles and Detroit. A few months ago, they finally settled with this octet and started recording. Each member of the group is a musician in his/her own right – Bruce plays guitar and organ; Michael, guitar; Jerry, congas and general percussion; Carole, electric violin and vocals; Anita, vibes, tambourine and vocals; Tony, bass; Melvin, drums.
I must confess to never having really liked ‘She’s Not Just Another Woman’ but I do like the group’s first album, titled simple 8th Day, which features some good vocals and instrumentals as well as two excellent monologues. The album also includes their current hit, ‘You’ve Got To Crawl’, with Melvin again lead voice, and this track is far better R&B than the pop-inclined ‘She’s Not Just Another Woman’. “Our next album,” says Tony, “is going to be much different. We want to get more into the pop/rock vein and get away from R&B.” All of which is bad news if you happen to particularly care for the vibrant voice of Melvin Davis.
In closing, it’s worth considering what potential such an act as this has, especially when you seriously consider the line-up.
© John Abbey, Blues & Soul, October 1971