B-side of It’s The Same Old Song
(Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland Jr.)
B-side of It’s The Same Old Song
(Released in the UK under license through EMI/Tamla Motown)
Your Love Is Amazing is a fine, fine song. When I first encountered it, in the hands of the great Shorty Long, I was struck by its simple beauty; it’s graceful in its economy, warming in its outpouring of joy and its pledge of eternal dedication, grooving in its clipped, rollicking gait.
This (original) version, plucked belatedly from the Tops’ début album, has almost none of that going on; it sounds rough-edged and stumbling, even shambolic in places. I’m not just basing that on a comparison to Shorty’s cover (which we’ll be meeting a year and a half later), but also to Four Tops records we’ve heard so far, even stuff from the first album, and even including the hurriedly-taped A-side It’s The Same Old Song.
Your Love Is Amazing is an absolutely killer song, deserving of far more recognition than it’s got, but having heard Shorty’s edition, this version is like a woozy paraphrase, a slightly hungover dress rehearsal. Was everyone drunk when they made this?
It’s still excellent, mind you. The song’s playful nature is a pleasure to behold, frequently stopping everything to indulge in a bounding seven-note riff followed by a divine, soaring Oooooooooh! – this from a group (of seven, the Tops together with the Andantes) who’d already mastered the art of a well-crafted oooh and in the hands of writer-producers who’d become devastatingly effective at deploying them. The pure happiness that radiates out of this can never be dulled; you could probably do a death-metal cover of Your Love Is Amazing and be unable to shake that giddy bounce, the head-over-heels, speaking in tongues joy of being in love.
HDH hadn’t quite nailed that concept yet – they were still better at tragedy rather than comedy, more comfortable doing sad than happy, and so there’s room for improvement. (And certainly there’s room for improvement on this actual song, because everyone on this version – the Tops, the Andantes, the Funk Brothers, everybody – sounds faintly hung over, as though the recording session was at 7am after a late show and much carousing the night before – and because Shorty’s version I still think is better than this one.)
But that shouldn’t be mistaken for a flaw, as this is full-on excellent, shambling towards greatness; it’s a rush, a buzz, a gas, utterly irresistible in its demented glee, and I’d contend it’s impossible, physically impossible, to listen to this and come away without a smile on your face. Certainly I’m smiling right now. And yeah, that means another big green number. Well played.
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!)
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“It’s The Same Old Song”