B-side of I Found A Girl
B-side of I Found A Girl
(Released in the UK under license through Oriole Records)
Well, OK, I wasn’t really expecting this.
A blast from the past in so many ways – the Valadiers had long since split up, and this is also the last “new” Motown record to feature a writing and producing credit for the Satintones’ Robert Bateman, the first serious songwriting partner of one Brian Holland – rather than being the agonising doo-wop break-up song I’d anticipated, this B-side turns out to be a jaunty waltz in 3/4 time, complete with gentle flute accompaniment and a chantey-like pub singalong in the middle.
Like I said, I really didn’t see this coming.
The tempo starts out slow but speeds up almost imperceptibly throughout the record, though I’m not sure if it’s intentional or just a mistake. It sounds like the Valadiers’ bid to move into a new career as a stage band at rural Sadie Hawkins dances, or something. Musically, at least, it’s cheerful and toe-tappingly silly – except that the lyrics are really crushingly depressing. The title implies a scorned lover’s bitter kiss-off, but the story is really just the narrator relaying his woes about his ruined relationship in detail. Have a scan through these edited highlights, and remember that the whole thing is set to a chirpy waltz tempo and sung and played in a style that would have gone down well at a farm town’s high school dance circa 1953:
When you walked out on me / There wasn’t anything I could do or say / You took my heart and you tore it apart / Why did you do me that way? …Your love to me was more precious than gold / You were my heart’s desire / And oh, when you touched me / Yes, when you touched me / You set my soul on fire… Now I’m alone, but my love lingers on / I can’t stop thinking of you / And sometimes I wonder / Oh, how I wonder / If you think of me too?
Sadly, lead Valadier Stuart Avig turns in another wet, anodyne vocal performance that sucks a lot of the atmosphere out of the song (indeed, it’s the weakness of his delivery that initially wrongfooted this listener, as he sings the heartfelt lyrics with a big Conway Twitty smile audibly plastered across his face).
Weird (which I wholeheartedly approve of), but also faintly rubbish (which I don’t). Still, at least it’s silly rubbish, rather than the faux-anguished rubbish I was fearing, and it is at least briefly entertaining, so it gets marked up as one of the better records the Valadiers made during their short, unsatisfying stay at Motown.
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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“I Found A Girl”
“Good Bye Cruel Love”