B-side of Dearest One
If the writing credits for the sweet-if-unambitious A-side Dearest One are a little confused, it’s nonetheless not in dispute that one of the co-writers of that song was young Brian Holland, later Lamont Dozier’s writing partner and creative foil, the two men sharing a deep-level understanding of melody and harmony, between them creating a number of killer pop tunes.
This B-side, on the other hand, recorded shortly before the A-side, features no such credit for Brian. It shows, too; while Brian was already well-practised at crafting intriguing melodies featuring unusual, unexpected but somehow natural chord changes, Lamont’s songwriting apparently hadn’t progressed to that point, and so this song doesn’t feature anything like that.
What we have instead is a run-of-the-mill early-Sixties R&B workout with some bluesy piano, sung well enough by Lamont but with little else to commend it. Lyrically it goes nowhere (there’s a self-deprecating bit where Lamont declares he can’t get a girl “cause I’m as ugly as they come, don’t weigh a hundred soaking wet”, but that’s about it), and musically, it’s unimpressive, unimaginative and ultimately boring.
Unlike the A-side, which (while it wasn’t the greatest song ever written, or anything) at least had charm and showed promise, if this B-side was all someone had to go on, it’d be entirely understandable to dismiss Lamont Dozier’s career as a performer out of hand, to insist he should have stayed on the other side of the glass where he belonged.
That’s not fair, really, as Lamont recorded a whole string of great solo albums in the Seventies, as well as providing vocals for the Holland-Dozier duo project along with Brian Holland. With that in mind, let’s forget about this song altogether; instead, here’s an entirely gratuitous link to a much better Lamont Dozier vocal, 1972’s magnificent Why Can’t We Be Lovers? You’re welcome.
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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“Same Old Story”