Tamla RecordsTamla T 54049 (B), November 1961

B-side of What Makes You Love Him (version 2)

(Written by Berry Gordy)

Scan kindly provided by Gordon Frewin.  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!Pretty much the exact opposite of the excellent A-side (the re-recorded What Makes You Love Him); where that had been cool, understated and appealing, this is loud, raucous and off-putting.

As well as being all over the place in terms of song structure – it’s an upbeat R&B/blues rocker that comes across a bit like a rougher, noisier take on Barrett Strong’s You Knows What To Do – it’s poorly-produced, and features an ear-stabbing, variably-loud, amateurishly-played Ondioline organ part parping and blaring away throughout the record which makes the music sound like a rejected Perrey & Kingsley backing track.

(I don’t know if it’s Raynoma Liles Gordy, “Miss Ray”, playing the Ondioline here, as was usually the case. Whoever it is, they’re having an off day; the choice of instrument is jarring in itself on a song like this, but the ensuing performance is also uncharacteristically rubbish.)

An alternate pressing - note the weird prototype Tamla logo, which was eventually used on future label promos. Scan kindly provided by Lars “LG” Nilsson - www.seabear.seThe band don’t exactly cover themselves in glory, either, and there’s a tiny but very noticeable flub at 1:29 when drums, bass and keyboards all momentarily drop out of time with each other. The whole track sounds sloppy and dated, especially in light of the strides taken with the A-side; quite frankly, it’s a mess.

Meanwhile, Singin’ Sammy isn’t blameless by any means; so spellbinding on the top side, here he’s falling back on old habits, screaming his lungs out and then scaling back in remorse, too late to find the tune. From the opening squealed “Yeah! Ah yeah! OWWW my my my my!”, it’s clear this just isn’t going to be one of the great Motown vocal performances. Things don’t improve; Ward veers from “competent but unintelligble” to “barely listenable”, and it’s a relief when things draw to a close.

Hardly among the worst offenders in the Bad Early Motown Records stakes, this is still a poor performance of a poor song and gets no praise at all here.



(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 Singin’ Sammy Ward? Click for more.)

Sammy Ward
“What Makes You Love Him” (version 2)
The Temptations
“Check Yourself”