B-side of Why Break My Heart (Just To Run Around)
As with Danny Day’s one and only Motown 45 a couple of days ago, here – for Dorsey Burnette’s proposed Motown swansong – we see a fine song being ruined on the A-side, while on the flip things are played rather safer, resulting in something that’s technically more competent – but undeniably less exciting.
Which is a roundabout way of saying this is tidier, tighter than the topside, the mesmerising-but-badly-flawed Why Break My Heart (Just To Run Around), but it lacks… well, excitement, not to mention the spark of greatness. So, we spend three minutes coasting in relative comfort; Dorsey gets to do his best MOR pseudo-country croon, co-writer Clarence Paul turns in a virtual musical rewrite of his long-forgotten pre-fame Supremes non-hit My Heart Can’t Take It No More, the other co-writer Morris (Luvel) Broadnax brings a flavour of his own previous efforts writing syrupy pseudo-standards for Marvin Gaye, the Motown LA operation drenches the whole thing in a Hollywood string arrangement which swells and swoons all over the record. All very well as far as it goes – but it’s never thrilling.
This is slightly stagey, slightly gloopy MOR fare, pumped up with impressive bombast both by those Movietone strings and by Dorsey himself, lending his Southern-textured baritone to what becomes a credible vocal performance. Together with the soft choir of female backing singers and the waterfalls of tinkling piano, it all adds up to a rather pretty exercise.
But it’s all a bit, well, dull. I’ve listened to it several times in a row, even found myself whistling along with the chorus, and I still couldn’t tell you what the lyrics are, never mind what they’re meant to be about. (They’re only words, I suppose. Badoom-tish.)
Undeniably well-made as a genre piece, and it holds its own well enough against some of Motown’s other MOR-style crooner cuts from more established names; but it’s not to my taste, and as we won’t be hearing from Dorsey again here on Motown Junkies until we get to 1975, it’s a bit of a strange note upon which to be parting.
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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“Why Break My Heart (Just To Run Around)”
“Pretty Little Baby”