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Tag Archives: Supremes

Too Good to Be Bad

Since we’ve entered a fresh new year and avoided getting destroyed in a Mayan-predicted apocalypse, I believe it’s time for a new mix. Ladies and gents, He Doesn’t Love Me: Girl Pop 1964-66.

Female-sung pop from the ’60s counts as one of my favorite musical genres, but I haven’t had a mix that focuses exclusively on it until putting together He Doesn’t Love Me, a 31-track set that represents a bumper crop of under-appreciated gems from the years 1964-66. Having it focus on those three years is important – conventional pop history wisdom says that this period happened when the “Girl Group” sound was on the wane, steamrolled by The Beatles and a more aggressive Rock sound. The energetic, sometimes goofy, always fun tunes on this mix clearly show, however, that Girl Pop was mutating into something special (especially in England, where the Fab Four’s influence is more evident). Who cares that it wasn’t as popular? I’d even venture to say that much of this stuff can hold its own against The Beatles and their guy-group contemporaries. The passionately sung, impeccably arranged songs here betray the fact that most of them are b-sides, album cuts and failed singles.

This time, I decided to have the download as separate mp3 and m4a files, instead of the continuous mixes offered previously. Simply download, drag all the files into a playlist and enjoy.

Download He Doesn’t Love Me: Winter 2013 Mix (116 MB Zip file)

He Doesn’t Love Me is also available here (with a few substitutions) on Spotify.

Track listing:
1. Sharon Tandy – “Now That You’ve Gone” (Pye UK single, 1965)
2. Petula Clark – “Life and Soul of the Party” (My Love LP cut, 1966)
3. The Supremes – “Mother Dear” (More Hits By The Supremes LP cut, 1965)
4. Jan Panter – “Put Yourself in My Place” (Pye UK single b-side, 1966)
5. Lulu Porter – “Nobody Hurt But Me” (Pep single, 1965)
6. Skeeter Davis – “Don’t Let Me Stand in Your Way” (RCA Victor single b-side, 1964)
7. Reparata & The Delrons – “Bye Bye Baby” (Whenever A Teenager Cries LP cut, 1965)
8. The Rag Dolls – “Society Girl” (Parkway single, 1964)
9. Denise Germaine – “He’s a Strange One” (ABC Paramount single, 1964)
10. The Lewis Sisters – “He’s an Oddball” (V.I.P. single, 1965)
11. Molly Bee – “He Doesn’t Want You” (Liberty single, 1964)
12. Jeanne Thomas – “Too Good to Be Bad” (New Voice single b-side, 1965)
13. Gerri Thomas – “Look What I Got” (World Artists single, 1965)
14. Piccola Pupa – “Put Two Extra Candles on My Cake” (Warner Bros. single b-side, 1965)
15. Yvonne Prenosilova – “Come On Home” (Pye UK single b-side, 1965)
16. Tina Britt – “The Real Thing” (Eastern single, 1965)
17. Martha & The Vandellas – “Never Leave Your Baby’s Side” (Gordy single b-side, 1966)
18. Julie Grant – “As Long as I Know He’s Mine” (Pye UK single b-side, 1965)
19. Sandra Barry – “You Can Take It from Me” (Pye UK single b-side, 1965)
20. The Essex featuring Anita Humes – “Don’t Fight It Baby” (Roulette single, 1964)
21. Cathy Carroll – “Where the Roses Are Growing” (Rotate single, circa 1964)
22. Connie Haines – “What’s Easy for Two Is Hard for One” (Motown single, 1966)
23. The Marvelettes – “Little Girls Grow Up” (Tamla recording session outtake, 1965)
24. Tracey Dey – “I Won’t Tell” (Amy single, 1964)
25. The Breakaways – “He Doesn’t Love Me” (Pye UK single b-side, 1964)
26. The Royalettes – “It’s a Big Mistake” (MGM single, 1966)
27. Toni Carroll – “Welcome Home Baby” (MGM single, 1965)
28. The Sherry Sisters – “Sailor Boy” (Epic single, 1964)
29. Christine Cooper – “S.O.S. (Heart in Distress)” (Parkway single, 1966)
30. Jackie DeShannon – “So Long Johnny” (Imperial single b-side, 1966)
31. Lesley Gore – “I Just Don’t Know if I Can” (Mercury single b-side, 1966)

44th Birthday Goodies

Today I turn 44, hooray! It’s an unwritten rule that the older you get, the longer amount of time you are allowed to have your birthday celebration. That in mind, we already did a lot of fun things already (like going to the amazing Musical Instrument Museum last week), so today was relatively low-key. Still, I did get some great stuff from the wonderful Christopher – he surprised me today with a Mad Magazine Super Special that I once mentioned enjoying as a kid, along with two Wii games, a framed Joyce Compton cigarette card, and a shiny metal business card holder adorned with a photo of Diana Ross & The Supremes. What a guy! The Blu Ray was a gift to myself from Criterion‘s recent half-off sale.

We also shared a slice of yummy berry cheesecake this afternoon.

Can’t Forget the Motor City

My exploration of Hip-o Select‘s Complete Motown Singles box sets brings me to volume 2, which covers the year 1962. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one too much, since at this point Motown was still a scrappy Detroit-based R&B label — interesting, but not quite the legendary hit machine it would become in 1965-69. Whatever it lacked in hits is gained in context, however. At four discs, it is somewhat shorter than the other TCMS sets — but I think that conciseness works in the set’s favor. Listening to all 112 tracks in order paints a picture of a small but upwardly mobile, positively African American enterprise guided by the sure hand of founder Berry Gordy, Jr. Gordy personally wrote and produced many of these tracks, both well-known and obscure. His touch adds a lot of quirky personality to these sets that would be smoothed out in the years to come.

By 1962 many Motown songs were crossing over to the (white) pop charts, but by and large it peddled energetic R&B to a primarily black audience. Gordy was also branching out to jazz, country and gospel with new sub-labels Workshop Jazz, Mel-o-Dy and Divinity — examples from which pepper this set, but never overwhelm as on the ’63 and ’64 volumes. Mostly it was R&B ballads and dance tunes, however, simply produced but with just enough of a “spark” to give it mass appeal and an enduring quality. Probably the best examples from this year came via trio of pleasant, Latin-influenced hits that Smokey Robinson crafted for Mary Wells — “The One Who Really Loves You,” “You Beat Me To The Punch,” and “Two Lovers.” 1962 was also the year that Marvin Gaye transformed from a limp Nat “King” Cole wannabe into a bona fide R&B star. His “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow” is one of the more infectious tunes here, along with “Do You Love Me” by The Contours (later popularized on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack). It was also a good year for The Marvelettes, who had a good run of wistful, quintessential Girl Group turns led by raspy-voiced Gladys Horton (“Beechwood 4-5789”). It’s also interesting to hear early, non-hit sides by The Supremes and The Temptations here; Gordy obviously knew that both groups had talented vocalists that deserved wider exposure. The effort would pay off in spades later on.

We all know that well-known “Golden Oldies” drive projects like this, but the obscurities and one shots on these sets are also, suprisingly, worth hearing. The 1962 set in particular has a lot of great, gritty R&B sides by the likes of Hattie Littles, Gino Parks and Henry Lumpkin that never caught on simply because that style of music wasn’t too hip in 1962. There’s also a few goofy novelties here that are worth mentioning. “Hang On Pearl,” about a guy frantically trying to save his drowning girlfriend, didn’t do much for singer Bob Kayli but it’s a hilarious tune all the same. “Exodus” by Hank & Carol Diamond is an earnest if kitschy jazz ditty that has a strong whiff of Happy Hour at the Holiday Inn. Another intriguing novelty was “I Call It Pretty Music But The Old People Call It The Blues,” the debut single from a precocious blind youngster called Little Stevie Wonder.

These are cool sets, beautifully packaged and worth it for the detailed track-by-track liner notes alone. The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 2: 1962 came out in 2005 in a limited edition run of 8,000; later years have already gone out of print, but new copies of this particular volume can still be had via Amazon Marketplace at this link.