684. The Elgins: “Darling Baby”

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VIP RecordsVIP 25029 (AA), December 1965

b/w Put Yourself In My Place

(Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland Jr.)

BritainTamla Motown TMG 551 (B), February 1966

B-side of Put Yourself In My Place

(Released in the UK under license through EMI/Tamla Motown)


Label scan kindly provided by Lars “LG” Nilsson - www.seabear.se.  All label scans come from visitor contributions - if you'd like to send me a scan I don't have, please e-mail it to me at fosse8@gmail.com!And so with this last 7″ side, 1965 is finally done. Aside from being the year that nearly broke Motown Junkies (for which I really am terribly sorry), Motown’s seventh year was the company’s most successful to date in terms of both overall sales and sheer profile, with the label now in rude financial health and making, rather than chasing, the nation’s tastes; put crudely, Motown was bigger and better than ever.

We close out the year with a hit, as the Elgins (formerly the Downbeats) take full advantage of their outstanding new singer Saundra Mallett Edwards to provide a double-sided chart threat; although nominally listed as the flip, Darling Baby handily outshone the supposed A-side Put Yourself In My Place to hit the R&B top five and make a bigger splash on the pop chart (still more of a ripple, landing in the 70s as opposed to the 90s, but an improvement nonetheless.) It’s easy to see why, too – while at first blush this one appears to have “B-side” written in its stars, a slow, aimless ballad compared to the tearful sweetened pop rush of the plug side, on closer inspection Darling Baby is actually the better song and the better record.

In short, this single is more of an introduction to the Elgins than the A-side had been; their history as the Downbeats being unknown to all but a few die-hard doo-woppers, fans were able to treat them as a new group, and sure enough we feel we’ve gotten to know them better by the end of Darling Baby despite Put Yourself In My Place being arguably more “in character” – and the main reason for that newfound familiarity is Saundra on lead, given room to bloom with spectacular results. Continue reading

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