Tamla RecordsTamla T 54066 (B), July 1962

B-side of Fire

(Written by Andre Williams, Clarence Paul and Joe Hunter)

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 flip side of Gino Parks’ final Motown release, this excellently slinky R&B excursion turns out to be one of the best things Gino ever recorded with the label.

Opening with Parks’ engaging acapella Whoa-ho-hey-heya-heya-hey-yeah, this is very much in the bluesy R&B vein of his previous single Same Thing, but with that song’s bristling raucousness replaced with a smooth, smouldering intensity. The chorus, with its short lines and jazz rhythms (For this I thank / You baby / For mending my bah-roken heart / For this I thank / You baby / For giving me a brand new start / You made my love / A-worth givin’ / And my life worth livin’ / What more can you do? / Hey hey hey, what more can you do?) is a particular highlight, and gets stuck in your head much more than any of Parks’ previous efforts.

The oddest thing about this song, though, is that like Eddie Holland’s You Deserve What You Got, it suffers a weird disconnect between lyrics and sound. Where Holland’s song was a beautiful ballad that turned out to be dripping with bitter spite, this song sounds like an embittered kiss-off to a scorned ex-girlfriend, Parks thanking her for opening his eyes; it’s only on further examination of the lyrics that it turns out to be a completely straight love song, Gino thanking his current partner for her loyalty and kindness. It’s good, but it doesn’t really fit; if Gino had sung something like Eddie’s lyrics to this song, it would have been a masterpiece.

Still, it’s good stuff all the same, and probably my favourite out of the handful of records Parks cut at Motown. Sad to report, there wouldn’t be any follow-ups; the company, with its eyes now firmly on the pop charts, was heading in a new direction, one that didn’t have room for a gospel-trained Alabama blues man.


* * * * * * * * * *
6 / 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!)

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 Gino Parks? Click for more.)

Gino Parks
Mike & The Modifiers
“I Found Myself A Brand New Baby”