b/w You’re My Desire
(Written by Mickey Stevenson and Rex Robertson Jr.)
It seems a fair bet that these aren’t the same “Equadors” that Allmusic (and thus the rest of the Internet) thinks performed this song (a Philadelphia doo-wop group who had a 1958 semi-hit with Sputnik Dance on RCA, and supported Ray Charles and Frankie Lymon before becoming the Modern Ink Spots); that group’s various line-ups are well-documented, and both sides of this single are credited to a co-writer named “Rex Robertson Jr” who appears nowhere in any biography of those Equadors.
The liner notes to The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 1 fare little better, offering the possibility that this is either the Philadelphia group or – alternatively – “the Ecuadors”, a different group who hung out with Chuck Berry and released the single Let Me Sleep Woman (with Berry on guitar) on Argo Records, before quickly clarifying that it might be neither of these. Certainly this sounds more like Berry’s “Ecuadors” than the Philadelphia “Equadors” on the basis of that one record, but it’s hardly conclusive.
As to the identity of the mysterious Rex Robertson, it seems nothing at all is known. The BMI database credits him with only one other song apart from the two sides of this single, a number apparently called “I Traded Her Love For Deep Pur” which is obviously a mistake (a reference to Roland Johnson’s 1959 country single “I Traded Her Love For Deep Purple Wine”, co-written by “Junior Robertson”), while the ASCAP online songwriter database doesn’t have anyone listed under that name at all. A mystery.
It would be a more pressing question if this were a better record. It’s an uptempo Fifties doo-wop/R&B dancer which sounds significantly out-of-date next to the other records Motown was releasing in late 1961; it’s somewhat reminiscent of the aforementioned Frankie Lymon, as well as the Marcels’ then-current rendition of Blue Moon, and about a million other upbeat early R&B rockers built on the off-the-rack 50s progression chords.
The singing and playing is competent, if forgettable, but never more than that. The lead singer aims for a haunting semi-harmony but just sounds as though he keeps hitting bum notes, taking the ear by surprise each time he changes gear up or down.
Worse, the lyrics are largely meaningless and patronisingly objectifying, the singer bemoaning his lack of “a woman”, letting us know how much he wants said generic woman, how good he’d treat generic woman if he had her (“had” here being framed very much in the sense of ownership, making the title faintly creepy), and finally running through a list of his friends who already “have one” to emphasise how much he feels left out by this, before the song fades out and the record ends. Not one word is expended on the qualities his ideal woman would possess, nor does she appear to get a say in the matter; he just wants a girlfriend as a status symbol. Difficult to admire.
Not fantastic, and (yet again) not a hit, meaning the Miracle label was now 0-for-6. The label would be closed down by an impatient Berry Gordy within four months, while the Equadors – at least under this name – were never heard from again.
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!)
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.
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|Rev. Columbus Mann
“You’re My Desire”