B-side of In My Lonely Room
(Written by Edward Holland Jr.)
B-side of In My Lonely Room
(Released in the UK under license through Stateside Records)
Hoo dearie me, if you think I was too harsh on In My Lonely Room, you’re not going to be very impressed with what’s coming up…! But that’s a story for another day. Today, we’re here to talk about A Tear For The Girl, another Vandellas track which – like the A-side – always leaves me feeling ambivalent.
A rare early solo writing credit for Eddie Holland, this turns out to be little more than a superficial rewrite of an earlier Holland-Dozier-Holland number, Darling, I Hum Our Song, a 1962 non-hit for Eddie (in his alternate career as a failed pop singer) which had already been dusted off for the Vandellas a few months previously and used as a B-side.
Which isn’t to say it’s not good or anything, because it is quite good in its own right; a waltzy, woozy, wounded ballad that gives Martha more opportunities to to display her remarkable vocal abilities. The Vandellas are given more to do here than on their earlier cover of Darling, I Hum Our Song, and there’s a frosty glaze of organ here running in the background that adds an unusual, echoing quality to their harmonies.
It’s just that it’s very similar to its predecessor, very similar indeed, right down to the incongruous humming device that sees Martha hum rather than sing one whole verse (and to almost exactly the same tune, too). That being the case, the same drawbacks that were so apparent there are also hard to escape here – Martha again gives a strong, powerful performance on a quietly contemplative song, and while it’s hard to criticise either of those elements they again just don’t seem to mesh. Martha’s anguished cries at the end of each verse – I KNOW, because that girl is me! – almost seem to belong to a different song to the rest of the verses.
Still, there’s lots to savour here – Martha’s vocal is again excellent, even if it doesn’t quite fit the production, the backing vocals are lovely, and the horn riffs between each verse are heavenly. It’s just that there’s something not quite right about this, something I can’t exactly put my finger on, and which stops the record from truly “connecting” with me (and, by extension, stops me from properly loving it the way I’d like to.)
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.
(Or maybe you’re only interested in Martha Reeves & The Vandellas? Click for more.)
|Martha and the Vandellas
“In My Lonely Room”
“Devil With The Blue Dress”
|Motown Junkies presents the finest Motown cuts, big hits and hard to find classics.
Listen to all past episodes here.