Initial B-side of You Never Miss A Good Thing
Eugene Remus’ only Motown single wasn’t a great success on any level, commercially or artistically. So little is known about Mr Remus that it’s hard to know what to make of his fleeting Motown career; considering the only quote about him I’ve ever read has the great Janie Bradford, no mean writer herself, referring to his writing abilities, it’s certainly a surprise he wasn’t given the opportunity to cut his own material. Instead, Motown gave him this.
The A-side, a competent but joyless rendering of Smokey’s You Never Miss A Good Thing, was hardly one of the great unknown Motown records, but it had been nice enough; this B-side, though, is genuinely atrocious. So atrocious, in fact, that the single was pulled from release after less than a month so that the record could be re-pressed and re-issued with a less terrible new B-side in its place.
The song is, for want of a better word, garbage. Based around a direct lift of the central riff from La Bamba, and sounding like the rest of it was written on the back of a fag packet five minutes before the session began, it’s tuneless, banal and eminently dislikeable.
Worse still, it’s bad material played badly. It’s no exaggeration to state that this is one of the very worst of all commercially-released Motown recordings. Almost every performance – lead vocals, drums, bass, horns, backing vocals, the works – is done in such a slapdash and desultory fashion that not only would the later Motown Quality Control meetings have refused to release this record, they might very well have ordered everyone responsible be shot.
Nobody on this record comes away with any credit, but Mr Remus is especially awful here; his tremulous, weak lead vocal has all the punch and verve of a bag of lettuce. Bearing in mind he can accept no blame or responsibility for writing this rubbish, we can only conclude he was just doing what he was told. Fundamentally unsuited to the song, he sounds like he’s doing a guide vocal which got released by mistake, or a particularly inept karaoke performance, and at no point does he ever even come close to accidentally wandering into tune with the off-time, off-key backing track.
The Rayber Voices, apparently having a spectacularly off day, provide one of the most godawful backing vocal performances ever committed to vinyl, shouting staccato interjections of HOLDTIGHT! HOLDTIGHT! LETMEGO! at seemingly spontaneous intervals.
The rhythm section, usually one of the best, most dependable features of any Motown record, sound half-asleep and drop out of time at least twice.
There are not one, not two, but three embarrassingly sloppy solos, firstly a piano solo which sounds like somebody accidentally leant on the keys during recording, then a perfunctory sax one which is almost inaudible in the mix, and finally an incongruous, massively loud vibraphone solo that sounds like a six-year-old did it, crashing gracelessly into the mix at least twice as loud as everything else.
One of the bottom five worst Motown records of all time, the best thing you can say about Hold Me Tight is that at least Gordy had the balls to admit his mistake in releasing it in the first place, and acted quickly to put this terrible record out of its misery.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
(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!)
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“You Never Miss A Good Thing”
“Gotta Have Your Lovin’ “