MotownMotown M 1003 (B), September 1960

B-side of Bye Bye Baby

(Written by Berry Gordy)

Scan kindly provided by Robb Klein, reproduced by arrangement.  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!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.



(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.

(Or maybe you’re only interested in Mary Wells? Click for more.)

Mary Wells
“Bye Bye Baby”
Singin’ Sammy Ward
“What Makes You Love Him”