Motown M 1003 (B), September 1960
B-side of Bye Bye Baby
(Written by Berry Gordy)
When producing the A-side of this single (written by Wells herself), Berry Gordy had coaxed a throaty performance out of Mary Wells’ startling singing voice by the simple expedient of forcing her through endless takes until she was almost too hoarse to sing; the result was arresting.
Here on the flip, Gordy (again the producer) opts for a different approach to get another strong, loud, raspy vocal performance from his teenage vocalist: he provides her with a song that is almost intentionally difficult to sing any other way, a slow doo-wop/blues number that practically calls for a seductive, alternately slinky and then full-on delivery.
Wells duly obliges with another excellent performance, full of character and frankly astonishing given her age. Like the A-side, the material isn’t the best, but that voice makes it worth the visit; you’d never think she was seventeen when she recorded this.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
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“Bye Bye Baby”
|Singin’ Sammy Ward
“What Makes You Love Him”