B-side of A Thrill A Moment
Taken together, the two sides of this – the Kim Weston single which fell between the cracks, a chart flop which was never even released in Britain – make up for a strange old time.
The A-side, A Thrill A Moment, with its Seventies production and Kim’s no-holds-barred vocal showcase, was a sort of amplification of all the full-on excesses of her previous single, I’m Still Loving You, with mixed results. This B-side, though, is even odder, a wildly inconsistent number full of unearthly chords, intentional off-time harmonies, and tentative, playful passages interrupted by short bursts of, well, full-on excess.
As always, I’m a sucker for anything even remotely strange, and so while this isn’t a masterpiece or anything, out of the two sides it’s this one that gets my vote.
It’s immediately striking, if not enduring; floaty, bossa nova fare in the verses, dramatic, pounding, chest-thumping show tune in what passes for the chorus. A weird mix of strange backing vocals – I can’t even tell how many people are singing backup on this, but there are three distinct (and separately-timed) vocal lines running in the background behind Kim – and unusual effects, drifting in and out, the listener cast adrift on an ocean of sound.
I’ll Never See My Love Again – not exactly a happy, good-time title, that – doesn’t sound much like a Kim Weston record. Not in the verses, anyway; when she cuts loose in that enormous show tune sort-of-chorus (only really distinguished from the verses by a ramping up of volume and melodrama from everyone involved, but still effective) she’s immediately recognisable, but for the most part she’s competing for attention with other voices and other instruments, and it’s not an entirely successful experiment.
(A tidied-up version of the same band backing track – sans fascinating harmonies – was used by Smokey Robinson as the basis for a new and entirely different song, Do Like I Do, which was duly offered to Kim a few months later – but her version didn’t see the light of day until it was used as a bonus disc (pictured left) in a British-only Tamla Motown anniversary box set in 1980. That’ll be around review number 3,000, if anyone is still reading by then.)
And speaking of things to come on this site… We haven’t met the Lewis Sisters yet here on Motown Junkies, but this sounds very much like one of theirs: the lavish quasi-orchestral production, huge grand piano glisses drenched in echo, those bizarre high harmonies, a kind of extended riff where a chorus should be. I fully expected to see their names somewhere in here, but no.
What we end up with is something akin to five or six different songs all jockeying for position in the same groove, none of them exactly winning out over the others. It’s a startling listen, but it doesn’t leave much impression once it’s over, no matter how pretty and ethereal it all is while it’s playing. Still, for all of that, it’s not only a bewildering record, it’s momentarily bewitching too, and I’ve always got plenty of time for forays off the beaten track which bring unexpected results.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
(I’ve had MY say, now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, or click the thumbs at the bottom there. Dissent is encouraged!)
You’re reading Motown Junkies, an attempt to review every Motown A- and B-side ever released. Click on the “previous” and “next” buttons below to go back and forth through the catalogue, or visit the Master Index for a full list of reviews so far.
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“A Thrill A Moment”
|The Four Tops
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”