B-side of My Heart Can’t Take It No More
(Written by Smokey Robinson)
Perhaps understandably enough, critics and Supremes fans alike who despaired of the A-side to this single, Clarence Paul’s “country/doo-wop” crossover ballad My Heart Can’t Take It No More, have noted that its flip was an uptempo girl group number written and produced by Smokey Robinson, and expressed a wish that You Bring Back Memories had been the A-side instead.
Fair enough reasoning, but the decision not to use this as a single makes perfect sense; not because Motown were particularly keen to push the Supremes in a country & western direction, but because this is hardly one of Smokey’s best writing and production jobs to date. Both he and the label knew it, too; this track was a holdover from the Supremes’ début LP Meet the Supremes (below), having been recorded almost a year previously, and it didn’t appear here by dint of any great public demand for its inclusion on a Supremes 45.
Opening, unpromisingly, with a shrill and strident near-acapella group intro, virtually chanted rather than sung, that doesn’t even try to scan properly –
(I thought that I had forgotten you
That you were just something of my yesterday
But now that I’ve see (sic) you standing here
All that I can say…
…I mean, come on – it’s not difficult to count the bloody syllables, Smokey! But I digress)
– we then get two minutes of pseudo-Brill Building fourth-rate girl group filler, severely lacking in both verve and hooks. Once again, like the A-side, it’s not horrible or anything, it’s just completely unremarkable in every way. It’s faintly reminiscent of some other uptempo Motown pop numbers from the spring of 1962, specifically Eddie Holland’s You Deserve What You Got and the Marvelettes’ Playboy, but not as good as either of those; the tune is clumsy and forgettable, the vocals strained and awkward.
This fit well enough on the Meet the Supremes LP, and that’s really where it should have stayed. If Motown had hoped that DJs who didn’t dig the country crossover on the topside would flip the record over to play this instead, it was a major miscalculation on their part.
Not awful, but not even worthy of a place in the top ten songs Smokey would ever write for the Supremes.
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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“My Heart Can’t Take It No More”