TamlaTamla T 54021 (B), April 1959

B-side of Let’s Rock

(Written by Berry Gordy, Roquel Davis and Gwen Gordy Fuqua)

Label scan kindly provided by Lars “LG” Nilsson - www.seabear.se.  All label scans come from visitor contributions - if you'd like to send me a scan I don't have, please e-mail it to me at fosse8@gmail.com!Three (official) Motown singles, three B-sides which might, all told, be better than the plug sides. Hmmm.

This single followed the same formula as Marv Johnson’s Tamla debut Come To Me / Whisper, having a raucous (or, well, not raucous exactly, but rather “energetic-by-1959-standards”) R&B rocker on the top side and a pretty doo-wop soul harmony number on the flip. Minimal musical backing gives Strong the chance to really go for it vocally, something he didn’t really get to do on Let’s Rock.

It’s good, although the backing vocals do rather spoil things; they start off unobtrusively providing soft background harmonies before unexpectedly lurching to the front of the mix, very clearly out of key with the main vocal at some points. The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 1 liner notes make a point of actually praising this record-scuppering misjudgement as “tight backing vocals”, which is a statement just brimming over with wrongability. It’s a shame, because this is actually a better song than the A-side, and Strong’s vocal delivery is much, er, stronger. Missed opportunity, this.

Unlike Let’s Rock, the master recording of this one somehow survived the ravages of time and Motown’s chaotic early record-keeping, with the result that it sounds considerably clearer on the Complete Motown Singles: Volume 1 CD than the A-side. Odd.



(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.

(Or maybe you’re only interested in Barrett Strong? Click for more.)

Barrett Strong
“Let’s Rock”
Chico Leverett
“Solid Sender”


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