B-side of Mr Sandman
Considerably less traumatising than the horrific A-side, Mr Sandman (a sappy, toned-down cover of the Chordettes’ hit for those who found the original a bit too raucous), it’s rather surprising to report that I’m Yours, You’re Mine turns out to be probably the most commercial thing Marvin Gaye had yet recorded.
It’s an upbeat, uptempo R&B number, a light and airy record with younger – if not necessarily young, per se – audiences firmly in mind.
If it’s hardly showing off Gaye as the finished article, this is nonetheless rather closer to the concept Berry Gordy apparently had in mind when he signed Marvin up in the first place, and I’m guessing (this is pure conjecture on my part) that Motown would have preferred to concentrate their efforts on this B-side rather than the schlocky A-side.
Which isn’t to say it’s all that good. Lyrically it’s barely half a step above a nursery rhyme, banal almost to the point of parody. Meanwhile, Marvin is on good vocal form, giving a first real indication of the singer he’d go on to become, but he’s still doing that really exaggerated “shhh” thing whenever he encounters a hard “s”, and (as with a previous R&B-flavoured outing, Never Let You Go (Sha Lu Bop)) he still sounds slightly embarrassed doing this sort of material.
(If proof were needed, check out the noticeably hesitant, half-hearted semi-shout of “woo!” at 0:58, as though he’s unsure whether to do it or not, followed by another, seemingly ad-libbed one at 1:01, after he’s decided the first one was a bit paltry).
It still sounds dated – it’s very similar, actually, in structure and sound, to Marv Johnson’s Come To Me from January 1959, the very first Tamla/Motown record, released some three years before this one – but it’s a step in the right direction. Certainly, this is the first of these prehistoric Marvin Gaye records that actually sounds like a plausible precursor to Stubborn Kind Of Fellow.
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5 / 10
(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!)
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