B-side of My Baby
(Written by Grace Walters)
The Freeman Brothers still can’t sing, but that’s less important on this B-side than the chronically misjudged My Baby; this one is a dramatic, driving rocker full of grumbling contralto sax, and it suits John Mitchell’s barked, throaty vocal much better. No longer do you feel as though the lead singer is walking a tightrope trying to stay in tune, as this time the groove is there to catch him should he fall.
But once again, just as with the A-side, a strong intro leads to disappointment. That intro is all kinds of excellent, twanging guitars and blaring, mournful horns giving a giant, dramatic fanfare. There’s no way to keep up that level of intensity, and indeed they don’t; this descends into another rote R&B workout that gets less and less interesting the longer it goes on.
It never sounds outright dismal like the A-side sometimes could, but nonetheless, once the sax player has finished their starring turn, it quickly becomes obvious there’s not much else to hear. This is a cover of an old pop hit covered by Rosemary Clooney in 1951, and the idea of turning it into a sweaty bar-room freakout is well-intentioned but doomed; the tune is dull, and in the quest to reanimate it, the Freeman Brothers bring precious few new ideas to the (operating) table.
It does sound good, and that excellent, attention-grabbing sax intro is worth a couple of marks by itself – but barring a perfunctory reprise of the superb intro, I find myself hard pushed to remember anything else about this even a few seconds after it’s finished playing. Never a good sign.
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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