Gordy RecordsGordy G 7019 (B), June 1963

B-side of Pa (I Need A Car)

(Written by Raynoma Liles Gordy and Mike Ossman)

Scan kindly provided by Gordon Frewin, reproduced by arrangement.  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!Of course, the mere fact that a Contours record doesn’t sound like Do You Love Me isn’t so laudable when the record in question is as bad as You Get Ugly. Written and produced by Berry Gordy’s ex-wife Raynoma Liles Gordy – “Miss Ray” – this horrible, cacophonous stomp is the worst thing the Contours had done since their 1961 B-side Funny.

It’s actually awful on two levels. Firstly, it sounds terrible, Billy Gordon mumbling unintelligibly, the other Contours shouting their “harmonies”, the band – apparently bored with their appointed task – turning in a rote performance, the lyrics (when you can make them out) either perfunctory or just plain silly, the production muffled and difficult to listen to; the whole thing is just generally noisy and annoying, and the group’s attempts to sell the whole thing as a “wacky” comedy romp grate on the nerves. Finding out that Contour Sylvester Potts apparently hated the song just adds to the overall feeling of “forced fun”.

Secondly, and I didn’t even know this until it was pointed out in the liner notes to The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 3 (as part of the aforementioned comments from Sylvester Potts), it’s an almost note-for-note and (I’m guessing here!) word-for-word rip-off of Jimmy Soul’s If You Wanna Be Happy – an equally naff record I’d mercifully managed to remain unaware of until today. So this isn’t just awful on its own terms, as I’d previously believed to be the case, but it turns out it’s also a craven attempt to sponge off another record’s chart success, the sort of thing I thought Motown had rather grown out of by this point in history. I never learn.



(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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The Contours
“Pa (I Need A Car)”
Amos Milburn
“My Daily Prayer”


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