Little Jimmy – Gwynneth Ashley-Robin
Hands up who remembers ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’, the song by Little Jimmy Osmond. Well, that was a hit on the Springbok Charts in 1973 and it got to number 7. Jimmy would be the youngest person to make the SA charts and the little Osmond kid seemed to have had a real affect on older women as he was 10 when he had his hit and at that point Gwynneth Ashley-Robin would have been 12½.
A year after Little Jimmy’s success, he was back in the charts, not as an act but rather as the subject of a song by Gwynneth who, at the time would be the second youngest person to chart (she was later overtaken for second place by Lena Zavaroni who had a hit with ‘Ma! He’s Making Eyes At Me). At just 13 years old, Gwynneth would be the youngest local act to make our charts and she did so with the aid of a well know act in the 70’s, Jody Wayne.
Jody would write and produce the track which is a cute little sing-a-long song. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about the track is that Gwynneth’s vocals do not sound like a little girl singing. It is a surprisingly mature delivery that is somewhat akin to the Motown soul acts of the 70’s like the Supremes or the Ronnettes. And the lyrics are also similar to that era of songs. It could easily sit alongside the likes of ‘De Doo Ron Ron’, ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Baby Love’.
Gwynneth (who’s real surname was Joubert) would have a second hit in the form of ‘Little Soldier Blue’, but sady would die in a light aircraft crash at the tender age of 15. Given the voice on that kid, we can only sit back and wonder what could have been. Instead we can occasionally put on ‘Little Jimmy’ (add it to your guilty pleasures list) and marvel at a voice ahead of its years.
Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 1 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40485 (CD)