b/w Hold Me Tight
(withdrawn from sale, October 1959)
(Second and third pressings with replacement B-side)
I never realised that this slow-baked chugging doo-wop ballad, an early Smokey/Gordy collaboration, had been recorded before the Miracles did their own version a couple of years later, but here’s the splendidly obscure Eugene Remus to prove me wrong.
This was Remus’ only Motown single, although it went through three distinct pressings, first swapping out the B-side and then replacing the A-side with a different version. Like the Satintones’ My Beloved, this one also comes in two distinct flavours, with and without strings, a result of Berry Gordy’s brief obsession with re-recording failed singles to cake them in layers of violins. The “with strings” version is again probably the preferable one of the two here, although the sound quality of the re-recorded version isn’t optimal as it’s one of the songs for which the compilers of The Complete Motown Singles: Part 1 couldn’t locate an original master, meaning it had to be dubbed from a 45rpm vinyl single.
Anyway. Remus is so obscure that even the liner notes don’t know who he is (“a good-looking guy who could sing and write; he just wandered in”, says Janie Bradford). This is a good song, played exceedingly softly in both versions, but Remus’ vocal delivery, while technically competent, is a bit odd; almost totally devoid of emotion, he enunciates each word a little too clearly, and pronounces a lot of things strangely (rendering the title as “til it’s gorne”, for instance) which is slightly off-putting.
Not remarkable in either version, and one of the weaker Motown singles to this point, it’s perhaps not surprising that Remus wasn’t given any more singles in the future – but it’s not awful, and like Wade Jones before him, it’s perhaps unfair to judge him on the strength of one record; it might have been nice to hear what else he had up his sleeve. He would never be given the opportunity.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
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Motown Junkies has reviewed other Motown versions of this song:
- The Miracles (April 1962)
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“Hold Me Tight”