B-side of Bringing In The Gold
(Written by Howard Hausey and Bruce McMeans)
More bread-and-butter country & western fare from Howard “Crockett” Hausey, and – as is becoming something of a tradition for Motown’s country subsidiary Mel-o-dy Records – more dubious lyrical subject matter. This one stars our Howard as a man walking out on his wife, portraying him as a downtrodden “worm that turned” in the style of Henry Gow, a free spirit who just couldn’t be caged any more (for which read: “shiftless wanker”).
Still, it’s lighter in tone than the A-side, Bringing In The Gold (what with its fatal shootings and mass lynchings and all). Unexpectedly, it’s also undeniably a better song than the A-side, showing that Motown’s regular knack of picking the wrong side of a 45 to plug wasn’t limited to its mainstream R&B/pop activities; the country boys got it just as wrong sometimes too.
Oh, it’s still not very good, don’t get me wrong – Hausey’s voice is as flat and boring as ever, even on this ostensibly passionate tale of a man pushed too far. The whole song is addressed to his wife – a “Dear Joan” letter, I guess – and there’s a lot of vitriol in it, so you’d expect Howard to rouse himself a bit for the occasion, but there’s almost no feeling to it at all.
The lyrics are the biggest problem, of course, in that the wife just doesn’t seem to have done a lot wrong – that she burnt his toast, asked him to walk the dog, and once threw a pot at him during a fight are the most specific allegations the narrator manages to lay at her feet – and combined with Howard’s dispassionate, almost uninterested delivery, it all adds up to make him seem much less sympathetic than Hausey and co-writer Bruce Channel probably intended. I’m on the wife’s side, that’s for sure.
But the tune is the best Motown country melody since Gene Henslee’s Shambles; unlike most of Crockett’s other singles, this one has an actual melody you can get hold of, with proper hooks and everything, and it’s bordering on catchy. The ringing steel guitars are nicely judged, too, meaning the whole thing comes across less objectionably than one might expect from the central lyrical conceit.
This review shouldn’t under any circumstances be mistaken for a recommendation, but I’ve Been A Long Time Leaving certainly isn’t as horrible as it could have been. Not great, sure, but this probably should have been the single all the same.
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 Howard Crockett? Click for more.)
“Bringing In The Gold”
|Motown Junkies presents the finest Motown cuts, big hits and hard to find classics.
Listen to all past episodes here.