Classics: Mystic Merlin – Just Can’t Give You Up (Capitol)
OMG! What a stellar production which such a sense of the little detail. Props have to definitely be given to Charles Kipps for that. On the heels of work(s) he did for luminaries such as Van McCoy and Faith, Hope & Charity to name a few.
“No matter how hard I try, I Just can’t give you up. Just dunno the reeason why, I can’t give you up.”. This song which appeared on the group’s eponymous debut-album back in 1980 has everything of an obsession. Lyricwise of course, but also in terms of conception. Smoothly blending a jazzy sax part courtesy of Barry Roark Strutt with sprakling keys in addition to soothing strings. The whole over a driving rhythm guitar part and a rumblin’ bassline. And I’m not even talkin’ about its 5 star vocal arrangements comin’ up as the icing on the cake.
Andrew ‘Doc’ Livingstone and Pat Leacock gave it a brilliant extrapolation 10 years after. Titling it ‘Can’t Give You Up’ for the circumstance, with production work by the likes of Dave Lee aka Joey Negro.
Hailing from NYC, Mystic Merlin probably got their name because of their initial activity. As a matter of fact, they started as a novelty act incorporating magic in their shows.
Infos may vary upon sources as to if they started as a 5 or 6-piece band. In other words, if Leslie Dorsey was on the original line-up made of Barry Strutt, Clyde Bullard, Jerry Anderson, Keith Gonzales, and Sly Randolph. Or if he happened to join them later on. One thing for sure being the fact that Freddie Jackson joined them as the lead vocalist on their third and final album.
Clyde Bullard has been seen collaborating on a couple of tracks with Manu Dibango in the early 80’s. Meanwhile Freddie Jackson made himself a serious reputation in the R&B scene. Most likely by the second half of the 80’s with albums such as ‘Rock Me Tonight’, ‘Don’t Let Love Slip Away’ or ‘Do Me Again’ (all on Capitol Records).