TamlaTamla T 54024* (B), June 1959

B-side of Snake Walk (Part 1)

(Written by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson)

Really just a continuation of the extended Funk Brothers instrumental semi-jam which made up the A-side Snake Walk (Part 1), this is more of the same; instead of Jamerson’s ominous upright bass, this one starts out with a moody Beans Bowles sax intro which begins all on its own before the rest of the band strikes back up with the same grooving rhythm, and then goes on over the top of the rest of the band’s playing for the first thirty seconds or so before Robert White takes over on lead guitar. There’s also a splendid false ending at around the 1:45 mark before the whole thing just starts up again.

Again, it’s hard not to start bobbing around and dancing to this stuff, so you may not want to play this if it’s possible someone will walk in on you and (for argument’s sake) see you dancing like an uncoordinated idiot. For instance.

If the technology had been available, it would have been fascinating to just let these guys jam for as long as they wanted to and record the results; might have made for a fine LP on the Workshop Jazz label a few years later. As it is, this and the A-side (combined duration: just over five minutes total) remain pretty much the only extant example of the early Funk Brothers getting their groove on.

It’s a particular shame, then, that this is one of the numerous records for which the master tapes could not be located when compiling The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 1, meaning the CD copy of this had to be dubbed from a 45rpm vinyl single; if anything, the distortion is actually even worse on this side. Bugger.

(*This isn’t a typo – the record really does share the same catalogue number as the considerably less good Solid Sender by Chico Leverett.)



(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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The Swinging Tigers
“Snake Walk (Part 1)”
Ron & Bill