Tamla RecordsTamla T 54058 (B), March 1962

B-side of I Out-Duked The Duke

(Written by Otis Hayes, Verlie Rice, Jeanne Dodd)

Label scan kindly provided by Lars “LG” Nilsson - www.seabear.se.  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!The underside of Chicago songwriter Otis Hayes’ one and only Motown single, this one at least bears his name on the label, as part of the writing credits. That said, it’s not one to be especially proud of.

Whereas the A-side, I Out-Duked The Duke, a charmless, grating parody of Gene Chandler’s Duke of Earl, had been raucous and (supposedly) comedic, this is just highly generic Fifties rock ‘n’ roll, at least five years behind the curve.

Both sides of the “Little Otis” single were handed to Motown as ready-made masters; this record, bearing as it does a prominent, crunchy rock guitar part a million light years away from the developing Funk Brothers’ tight, soulful, understated work, does serve as a useful yardstick to judge those early Funks performances. It comes across as quite jarring to be pitched back into a band track that apes the hottest rock grooves of 1957, and makes you realise just how far the Motown house musicians had come since those first early days.

So, yeah, as a historical document it’s kind of interesting. As a song, it’s dull as ditchwater and completely without character. “Little Otis” had no further part to play in the Motown story, but his two underwhelming sides at least help throw the quality of the best Motown records of 1962 into focus. Ironically enough, the very next record Motown put out would rank among the label’s best of the year.



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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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Little Otis
“I Out-Duked The Duke”
The Temptations
“(You’re My) Dream Come True”