Workshop Jazz RecordsWorkshop Jazz 2007 (A), February 1963

b/w Falling In Love With Love

(Written by Johnny Griffith)

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!And so, with more than a little grateful relief on my part, we come to the last ever single on Motown’s ill-fated jazz subsidiary, Workshop Jazz Records. The imprint was already concentrating more on LPs than seven-inches (albums being more suited to jazz than singles), and accordingly Motown shoved out no less than four promotional jazz singles during the last days of February 1963, all with the purpose of hawking albums rather than becoming big sellers in their own right; indeed, it’s unclear as to whether any stock copies of any of Motown’s 1963 jazz singles were ever pressed up.

Fittingly, the last flourish of Motown’s unsuccessful bid to join the jazz hierarchy came courtesy of vocalist Paula Greer, who had herself already made an abortive first stab at a Motown recording career with I Want To Talk About You the previous month. That release had been cancelled, presumably because it wasn’t to be found on any album; for Greer’s next release, Motown went to her newly-finished LP, Introducing Paula Greer, and pulled this, a vocal version of the piano instrumental I Did, as recorded by the Johnny Griffith Trio and released at the same time as this single.

Paula's LP, from which this single is drawn.  Scan kindly provided by Gordon Frewin, used by arrangement.This isn’t a case of Greer simply overdubbing a vocal onto Johnny Griffith’s prerecorded track; although Griffith and his Trio again provide the music here, it’s a different recording which actually predates Griffith’s own instrumental version. (Most noticeably, it’s somewhat smoother, with the piano pounded a bit less frantically).

Paula does well enough with it, too, the addition of a lyric nudging the song closer to being the pseudo-standard its writer seems to have envisioned; but as with her previous outing, I Want To Talk About You, “well enough” still only indicates a competent, occasionally pleasing smooth jazz vocal, rather than that being a particular recommendation or anything. The tune here is still weak and directionless, and Greer’s voice, pleasant enough as far as it goes, is still more background music than show-stopping lead. But, at the end of the day, it’s wholly listenable, and so it remains the best thing Workshop Jazz managed to release out of these eight sides; even if that’s akin to damning this record with faint praise, it still counts for something, I suppose.

I guess I just don’t really like this kind of jazz, no matter how nice a job the protagonists make of it. You live and learn.



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Motown Junkies has reviewed other Motown versions of this song:

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George Bohanon Quartet
“El Rig”
Paula Greer
“Falling In Love With Love”