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Tamla RecordsTamla T 54106 (B), November 1964

B-side of A Little More Love

(Written by Mickey Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter)

BritainStateside SS 359 (B), November 1964

B-side of A Little More Love

(Released in the UK under license through EMI/Stateside Records)

Tamla RecordsTamla T 54110 (B), January 1965

B-side of I’m Still Loving You

(Reissued as B-side to new single)

BritainTamla Motown TMG 511 (B), April 1965

B-side of I’m Still Loving You

(Reissued as B-side to new single)


Label scan for the second release kindly provided by Lars “LG” Nilsson - www.seabear.se.  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!Like the original A-side, A Little More Love, this is another slow-burning adagio, featuring another huge lead vocal performance from Miss Weston. Unlike that A-side, this one did at least get resurrected (in a slightly different mix) for a later re-release as the flip of Kim’s next single, I’m Still Loving You.

It probably sounds simplistic to say that the main difference between this and A Little More Love is that Go Ahead And Laugh is sad rather than happy, but that’s really the size of it.

(Poor choice of words – I don’t mean the size of this song, which is roughly as big as Winchester Cathedral on fire, but then A Little More Love was pretty enormous too, all things considered.) No, the main difference is tone. Sure, it’s a rather less structured affair, drawing much more from jazz than pop or R&B, giving Kim the opportunity to cut loose and swing for the fences, but this is a song of pain rather than love and redemption. I’m of the opinion Kim always sounded better with a smile on her face, or at least a scornful smirk, but luckily for Motown and for all of us, she could do pain just as well, thank you very much.The British Tamla Motown EP release from 1965, which appended two older tracks to the standard single, giving UK fans a treat their US counterparts never received.This is the equal of its first A-side in all respects; maudlin and self-pitying though it may be, there’s nothing wrong with a good old wallow now and again, and as far as drownings of sorrows go, this one’s magnificent.

There’s so much to love about this that it’d work even if Kim wasn’t on the record; the plinky-plonky Vaudeville piano interlude, the Andantes’ downright spooky harmonies, a weird offbeat drum cadence rippling through the quiet moments, horn breaks that sound like they’ve wandered in from a jazz funeral. But when Kim arrives, all of that becomes decoration. Her vocal isn’t the icing on the cake; her vocal is the cake.

What the hell am I talking about? Let me try and explain.

Back in 1961, a gospel group called the Wright Specials, who’d evolved from a church gospel choir, arrived at Motown to cut a few gospel sides. Teenage swim team prodigy Agatha Weston, later known as Kim, was part of the group, but ironically wasn’t involved in these recording sessions. Instead, the rest of the line-up – identified by Kim herself here on Motown Junkies as Delores Hall, Carrie Jones, Betty Knox and Effie Ellington – laid down a bunch of gospel tracks, resulting in two singles for Motown’s short-lived Divinity Records offshoot. One of those Wright Specials sides, Pilgrim Of Sorrow, remains some of the biggest and best vocal work I’ve ever heard, regardless of genre, as first Betty Knox and then Delores Hall take turns perforating the listener’s eardrums with some staggering performances. Kim wasn’t on those tracks, but if those are the ladies she learned to sing with, whose voices she had to match to be heard, it explains a lot.

Kim Weston was Motown’s best singer, certainly at this point in history. Go Ahead And Laugh is her best vocal to date, a performance of breathtaking virtuosity, alternating admirable taste and restraint with no-holds-barred eruptions of emotion, carrying this song and bringing it home. Warnings are given at the one-minute mark (If you only cared… if you only SPARED a little time and tenderness, you’d never miss it), but the record builds and builds in intensity, culminating in a quite remarkable section at two minutes, when Kim delivers a coup de grace with a minute still to go, changing key mid-word as she delivers the title phrase, dripping in vitriol. Damn, she was good.

Underneath all the fireworks, there’s the nagging doubt that this song is more of a sketch, that it needs a really gifted singer to complete it, to make it work (the only other Motown act to even attempt it were Martha and the Vandellas, which says a lot); but the central hook is surprisingly good, and anyway most of the best vocal pieces rely on their singer to bring the best out of them. No, this is fine work, and if it’s too slow-paced and melodramatic for radio, it’s still probably the best thing Kim Weston had yet recorded for Motown. That she even had room to improve at all is a credit to her, rather than a mark against this record.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT

8/10

(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 Kim Weston? Click for more.)

Kim Weston
“A Little More Love”
Martha & the Vandellas
“Wild One”

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