Berry Gordy loved to pass songs amongst his artists on Motown (and related labels) until he had a hit with them. Even then, he’d sometimes continue allowing other to cover well-worn hits. Case in point: The Supremes’ 1966 album, A’ Go-Go.
I started Mother’s Day sitting on the couch with my wife–and expecting mother–listening to this fine album. We’re both huge fan of The Supremes, so it was perfect. It is funny, however, to consider just how many soul albums, like this one, consisted of a couple singles and essentially seven or eight filler tracks. (Isn’t this basically how much of the recording industry continues to work?)
The album features the group’s mind-blowing singles “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The Supremes also cover its labelmates, three songs originally made famous by the Four Tops and one hit each from The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, Barrett Strong and The Isley Brothers. Most bizarre are the covers of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” and The McCoys'”Hang On Sloopy.” (To be honest, these last two and the other original song, “Put Yourself in My Place,” are just kinda lame and downright silly.)
Just because you find an album on Motown, don’t necessarily expect a well thought-out artistic statement. That said, you still need to hear A’ Go-Go; it’s a soulful slab of 60s girl pop that’ll offer context for some of The Supremes’ biggest hits. Besides that, it was the group’s first #1 album.