678. Jr. Walker & the All Stars: “Baby You Know You Ain’t Right”

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Soul RecordsSoul S 35017 (B), December 1965

B-side of Cleo’s Mood

(Written by Autry DeWalt Jr. and Lawrence Horn)

BritainTamla Motown TMG 550 (B), February 1966

B-side of Cleo’s Mood

(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!I said when reviewing the A-side, the excellent bar-room blues/jazz instrumental Cleo’s Mood, that Junior Walker and the All Stars have a habit of turning up to save the day whenever the Motown DNA is in danger of going a bit MOR. Here, on the B-side, we see another one of Junior’s defining traits: a bad record following straight after a good one, and the nagging suspicion that Junior had no real idea what differentiated the two.

Superb though Cleo’s Mood is, I still feel it’s lacking an undefined extra “something” in comparison to truly great All Stars singles like Shotgun and Do The Boomerang, and I wondered if the X factor might be Junior Walker’s vocals. We’ve already discussed here on Motown Junkies how Junior, a saxophone virtuoso and grizzled R&B veteran musician (he was in his mid-thirties by now, but Motown’s teen-savvy marketing craftily lopped ten years off his actual age) was pressed into service as a singer too, revealing a surprisingly good voice: gruff but energetic, rabble-rousing in the best way. But Cleo’s Mood was three and a half years old when Motown dusted it off, a recording from long before Junior ever stepped up to sing.

Baby You Know You Ain’t Right, a much more recent recording, features Junior in full voice… and it’s a grave disappointment, as though almost everything individual or special from the A-side has been scraped away. What’s left behind, as it turns out, is just another male R&B group, and by no measure a great one. Continue reading

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