Just over a month after releasing Barrett Strong’s Yes, No, Maybe So, his failed follow-up to Money (That’s What I Want), Motown got wise to the “soundalike sequel” concept, bringing in Money co-writer Janie Bradford (the Hitsville receptionist)… one record too late.
Instead of crafting a better follow-up to Money, this is instead a soundalike follow-up to Yes, No, Maybe So, with Strong once again giving it the full Ray Charles in his vocal, and the band apparently bringing the same music to the session (apart from a bit more sax instead of trumpet).
It’s recorded a lot better than Yes, No, Maybe So was – the CD version sounds crisp and clear – but Whirlwind doesn’t have such a memorable chorus as that song, so it feels like a trade-off. It’s such an effective soundalike, in fact, that it struggles for its own identity. The one new addition (apart from a brief sax solo) is a call-and-response structure with the Rayber Voices that takes up a good third of the song; fun, but hardly enough to turn this into essential listening.
Strong, who reportedly disliked performing live and had no ambitions to be a singer, would have no more hits as a Motown performer (though he released two more singles after this one on Tamla before giving up), but this song marks his first Motown songwriting credit.
In summary: Almost the same as Yes, No, Maybe So, but not as good.
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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