B-side of First, You’ve Got To Recognize God
(Written by Joseph Norris)
I’m Going Home, eh? I can’t resist an open goal. After the horrors of the A-side, First, You’ve Got To Recognize God, I was sorely tempted to make some glib remark along the lines of “Off you go then!” Observe my impeccable restraint in not doing so.
This isn’t as bad as the A-side, but it’s not a huge improvement. Much more uptempo, with strong hints of bebop and jazz in its intro, this was recorded in the spring of 1962, when the Burnadettes apparently cut an entire album’s worth of material for Motown, from which this B-side was the only resulting release; Joseph Norris, who wrote most of those songs, is named as the all-female group’s musical director by The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 3.
It’s not particularly good. Opening with a series of shrill, indistinct wails from the choir, first reciting the title over and over again and then bursting into a couple of lines’ worth of completely indicipherable lyrics, we’re then treated to a piping, reedy lead vocal that (bizarrely) sounds a bit like the earliest work of Michael Jackson. The vocalist is unidentified, but the liner notes to Volume 3 are full of praise for her performance; I don’t know why, because she walks the line between “youthfully invigorating” and “tunelessly irritating” with precious little skill.
As with the A-side, there’s almost no actual song to be had here at all, and it’s lacking in the grandeur and awe that the best straight-ahead gospel records call on to paper over any songwriting cracks. Barely over two minutes long, this is a brief and pointless exercise, and it’s no surprise history has since glossed over its existence.
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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“First, You’ve Got To Recognize God”
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