Miracle RecordsMiracle MIR 03 (B), May 1961

B-side of Blibberin’ Blabbin’ Blues

(Written by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson)

Anyone looking at the last few Motown releases to this point in May 1961, without knowing what was coming up later, would by now have been entertaining serious doubts as to whether the company had run out of ideas. Novelty answer records abounded, moments of true pop genius were exceedingly scarce, and now here’s another in-house cover of a Jobete-published song, this time a long-forgotten throwaway B-side from 1959 by “Ron & Bill” (Smokey Robinson and Ronald White). A thin, charmless Everly Brothers pastiche, it wasn’t up to much even on original release, and so quite why it was dusted off and dragged out for another go-round two years later is really anybody’s guess.

Maybe it was a complicated in-joke. Like the A-side, this one was credited to Gino Parks solo, but is actually a trio effort with Satintone Robert Bateman and the excellently-named Henry Lumpkin, originally intended to come out under the group name “Hank, Gino & Bob”. It’s particularly obvious that this isn’t a solo recording; the twin-attack lead vocal, done before double-tracking vocals became commonplace, is clearly more than one person. So maybe “Hank, Gino & Bob” covered a song by “Ron & Bill” as an elaborate homage, a crafty wink for the nerds. Who knows? Perhaps more to the point, who cares?

Because this, like so many of the records released by Motown in the spring of 1961, is eminently forgettable. Even shorter in length than the original (well under two minutes), this is punchier but also sloppier; where on the A-side Gino and his mates at least gave their all to a silly task, here they sound pretty disinterested. They sound less like the Everly Brothers than Ron & Bill did, but instead they just sound careless, leading to a slapdash, perfunctory performance that really has little reason to exist at all. A total waste of the (not inconsiderable) talent of everyone involved.



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Motown Junkies has reviewed other Motown versions of this song:

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Gino Parks
“Blibberin’ Blabbin’ Blues”
The Satintones