B-side of Come And Get These Memories
(Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland Jr.)
B-side of Come And Get These Memories
(Released in the UK under license through Oriole Records)
A bit of a strange case, this B-side. Whereas the magnificent A-side Come And Get These Memories sounded positively futuristic, to the point many observers have credited it as the start of the “Motown Sound”, Jealous Lover sounds dated by comparison. Which is odd, because this was actually recorded after …Memories.
It really does feel like a step back, though. After the fresh air of the A-side, listening to this is a bit like going back indoors again. Oh, it’s not particularly bad, or anything – it’s a nice little record on its merits, a slow ballad in the mould of Smokey Robinson’s gentler work over the past couple of years – and everyone does their jobs well enough. Martha Reeves sounds pretty good, although she’s back to doing the Mary Wells-esque semi-croon she’d deployed on the Vandellas’ previous single, I’ll Have To Let Him Go rather than the gutsier R&B delivery of the topside. (In fact, if anything, she sounds more like Mary Wells on this record than she had on the previous one – which wasn’t the way forward, really.)
The other two Vandellas, Rosalind and Annette, sound good again too – they’re badly underused here, but their performance is leagues apart from their callow, screechy backing vocals on the four-piece I’ll Have To Let Him Go. There’s other good stuff, too: subtle, judicious use of brass, drum fills recycled from Marvin Gaye’s It Hurt Me Too.
But it’s all nice and adequate, nothing really special, and in light of the stellar A-side that makes this a bit of a disappointment. The tune is nothing at all to write home about, its best feature – a slow break near the end where the Vandellas take up Martha’s repeated refrain of Jealous lover, jealous lover and let her sing over the top – is extremely similar to the How long will it be? bit in the Marvelettes’ Someday, Someway, and the rest of it is forgettable in the extreme – not what one expects from the growing-in-confidence Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team.
The lyrics, which feature Martha trying to reassure her jealous boyfriend that she’s not interested in anyone else, are forgettable stuff too (with one exception – Martha loudly exclaiming “Though handsome boys may pass me by / You’re still my kind of guy / You’re not very handsome, but you’re so sweet and kind” – which brings the listener up short a little; it’s a kind of misguided take on what Mary Wells would do in My Guy a year later, I suppose, but which surely wouldn’t have provided her man with much reassurance!)
The bigger problem with the lyrics, though, is something that Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier had struggled with in the past, and which the inclusion of Eddie Holland as lyricist would eventually help to eliminate: the words scan very poorly, pushing Martha through hoops and contortions to fit the text to the music. At one stage, she has to stretch the word “playing” through four beats and an odd number of syllables (‘Cos you know you and I / Were pla-a-ay’n records all alone), and she’s generally not given enough time to recover or get ready throughout the song. By 1963, we’re past the point where this sort of thing would fly, especially in light of the laser-accurate scansion of the lyrics on Come And Get These Memories – whose presumably-intentional stretches (He-ere’s your old friendship ring, I-I-I can’t wear it no more) suddenly feel like accidental successes in the light of this.
A definite step backwards, then, resulting in a record that’s no more than “okay” at best – but Holland-Dozier-Holland’s creations couldn’t always be winners, and luckily the A-side was brilliant enough that no-one would be dwelling on the flip anyway.
Both sides of this single found their way on to the Vandellas’ début LP, also entitled Come And Get These Memories, a few months later.
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!)
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|Martha & the Vandellas
“Come And Get These Memories”
“My Heart Can’t Take It No More”