TamlaTamla T 5501 (A), August 1959

b/w Cool And Crazy

(Written by Johnny Ferro)

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!Motown’s first white act, although not their first white signing – this single was a pre-recorded one-shot deal – “Nick” was drummer Nick Ferro, and the Jaguars were guitarists Marvin Weyer and songwriter Johnny Ferro.

This is a complete oddity, a two and half minute instrumental rocker with a couple of mad changes of tempo and some ferocious rhythm guitar. It has about as much to do with Motown as this site about plant potting. It’s quite impressive in its exuberance and energy, but the opening shout of “ICH-I-BON! Num-berrr-One!” is irritating in the extreme, and it doesn’t really end up going anywhere (it just fades out mid-thrash at the 2:25 mark).

Supposedly a response to Tequila by the Champs, I can’t hear it at all; the liner notes to The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 1 have it closer to the mark when they call this “proto-surf rock” and namecheck Dick Dale. More than anything else, it serves to illustrate just how widely Berry Gordy would cast his net if he thought there was a hit to be had out of it.

This time, there wasn’t. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this complete commercial curveball baffled black radio, confused consumers, sold bog-all copies and is now one of early Motown’s rarer curios.



(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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Barrett Strong
“Oh I Apologize”
Nick & The Jaguars
“Cool And Crazy”