B-side of Run, Run, Run
(Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland Jr.)
The Supremes having made such giant strides on the A-side, Run, Run, Run, towards the assuredness (if not the actual sound, or the sales) that would make them stars, it’s more than a little jarring to be suddenly pitched back to an earlier era for the flip.
This is one of the very first Holland-Dozier-Holland/Supremes collaborations, both Diana Ross and HDH feeling their way gingerly around a pedestrian ballad. Built around an “Ooh-ooh-ooh” vocal hook from Flo and Mary, it all comes across as slightly hesitant, slightly unsure of itself, just as its creators must likely have been.
This is another nice coincidence of lyrics and delivery – Diana’s character is plucking up the courage to dump her wayward boyfriend, on the basis that the relationship is making both of them miserable, and in so doing she’s “giving him” the freedom he apparently wants. Again, though, I doubt it’s any more than a coincidence.
It’s all pretty enough, with some nice ideas (check out the flamenco guitar!) and a striking time signature (which in hindsight might have been too much too soon), but it was never likely to pull up any trees.
Nicely sung by all three women, featuring some great moments amid the overwhelming morass of Totally Average which covers the record, but symptomatic of the directionless mess HDH found the Supremes in when they took over the role of songwriters and producers for the hitherto “no-hit” group. I’m Giving You Your Freedom stands as an indication of the scale of the job HDH had on their hands, rather than a first sign of them actually tidying up some of the mess and beginning to turn things around.
It’s no embarrassment; by its own limited standards, it’s pleasant but inconsequential fare. You wouldn’t get up to turn it off, but equally you probably wouldn’t keep coming back for repeat listens, not when there’s so much more interesting Supremes material out there to investigate.
Not awful or anything, but this is a relic from an age already past, and there was very much better to come. Try the A-side, for starters.
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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“Run, Run, Run”
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