With these two sides, the group were reaching in the dark for something they couldn’t quite grasp, something entirely new, defying total understanding (theirs and ours). This one, strangely-punctuated title and all, is probably my favourite of the two, not least because – just like Martha – I feel its power is still only shakily understood, and not to be taken lightly. (8)
They were never going to be the Supremes, but instead, here they take possession of something new, something more dangerous and exciting and grown-up: from here on in, this is the Vandellas’ home turf, and they occupy it with panache. And with a super-catchy chorus to boot. (8)
Having just scaled the highest heights, Martha and the Vandellas will hopefully forgive me if a good rhythm and two-fifths of a dirty joke doesn’t send me into raptures any more. (5)
The feeling of hearing a Vandellas record and realising that once again, they’re the best group in the world. I’ve missed that feeling. Damn, this is a good record. (10)
Even for fans who prefer Martha in this lower-key mode, the mix still wasn’t right; there wouldn’t be another midtempo Vandellas A-side for over a year, by which time they’d really mastered the art. For now, this pretty little scribble would have to do. (5)
A kind of half step in a new direction, while driving twenty miles down the same road as before. Sure, it’s inescapably very similar to (and rather less good than) Dancing In The Street. That can’t stop it being fun. (7)
I can’t escape the feeling that the vocal and the track still don’t properly agree with each other, even here at the second time of asking. Still pretty, though. (6)
Brilliant (if not in the way that’s generally accepted), but it isn’t the record Martha and the Vandellas deserve to be remembered for. That doesn’t stop it from being a classic, of course. (8)
I’m not really surprised that this wasn’t the big hit to revive the Vandellas’ commercial fortunes – it’s just not that kind of a song, greatly enjoyable though it is – but that doesn’t mean it’s not both a fascinating listen and a super dancer.
Still not a great song by any means, but this is just about the best version of it that exists, and that counts for something. (6)
Oddly unsatisfying when compared to Eddie Holland’s original version; Martha turns in a very fine vocal performance, but arguably for entirely the wrong song, while the rest of it just doesn’t hang together properly at all. (5)
This just isn’t as good a record as Heat Wave; it’s a perfectly adequate sequel, and a fun little Vandellas single in its own right, but they’d come down from a whole other plane in order to make it.
A neat little jewel in its way, oddly affecting and eminently likeable, a snapshot of a group who knew they were good but didn’t yet know they were famous. (7)
A remarkable record, and one of the best singles Motown ever released. (10)
A record that’s no more than “okay” at best – but Holland-Dozier-Holland’s creations couldn’t always be winners, and luckily the A-side was brilliant enough that no-one would be dwelling on the flip anyway. (4)
If 1962 had belonged to the Marvelettes, then 1963 would belong to Martha and the Vandellas; this single marked them out not only as worthy recipients of the Marvelettes’ baton as Motown’s number one group, but one of the best new pop groups in the world, full stop.
This is easily as good a record as the A-side. (6)
Hardly life-changing, but as a single it’s highly enjoyable; as a time capsule from some alternate universe where Martha Reeves never became a star, it’s nothing short of fascinating. (6)
Not terrible by any means, but not particularly good either, especially when compared to what was just around the corner for the group. (4)
The entire world had been put on notice that Motown had found another great group, almost out of nowhere; next stop, the charts. (6)
Not a single, and hardly a classic, it’s still a nice song – but it’s a poor match of vocalist and material. (5)
Really just an excuse to tell the story of Martha and the Vandellas. The record? Not terrible, by any means, not even bad – it’s just a big ol’ plate full of “totally average”, which given the pedigree of everyone involved is a crushing disappointment. (5)