b/w Real Good Lovin’
Richard “Popcorn” Wylie’s third Motown single, and his last for ten years, ends up (unsuprisingly) having nothing to do with the previous two. Following on from the painfully unfunny break-in comedy routine Custer’s Last Man and his boogie-woogie piano rock cover of Money (That’s What I Want), here Wylie and songwriting partner Janie Bradford turn in a slinky faux-blues bar-room R&B stomp, made with one eye firmly on getting some radio play.
It seems a good match at first, and the band are well up for it – there’s a splendid guitar solo at 1:15 and some great sax work, as well as a shrill, piercing operatic female backing voice which comes in right at the very end which would have livened up the rest of the song considerably had it featured earlier – but oddly for such an individual personality, Wylie’s vocal here lacks character, and doesn’t come across as dynamic enough to carry this off. He just isn’t blues enough for the material, coming over flat and uneven. Worse, the song is based on a central vocal hook that plainly just doesn’t work – “Well if I don’t have the right / Then give me the right, right away”, awkwardly timed and scanning poorly – and as a result, the whole song just feels rushed, slapdash, as though it wasn’t quite ready.
Not as painful as Custer’s Last Man, this is probably still the most disappointing of Popcorn’s three Motown forays in the era; Custer’s… was a bad idea from the off, whereas this one definitely had promise – it just doesn’t sound finished. Moreover, it’s not at all clear what could have been done to salvage the song, short of a fundamental rewrite. The result is a half-formed song idea which should really have ended up in the wastepaper basket.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
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“Just For You”
|Popcorn & The Mohawks
“Real Good Lovin'”