Tag Archives: motown

An itching in my heart.

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.

The Supremes' A' Go-GoI 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  The Supremes also cover its labelmates, three songs originally made famous by the Four Tops and one hit each from The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, Barrett Strong and The Isley Brothers.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.

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Episode 67: Closer to Heaven

Sometimes I wonder how people will perceive my opinions in these shows.  It’s not because I’m unsure of them, it’s that I don’t want to be that hipster who trash entire albums (or an artist’s entire career!) after listening to only a few songs.

I don’t want to claim I’m above such behavior or stake my identity in not being those pretentious guys.  (That just creates another problem, right?)  But rest assured that I usually do my homework before spouting off, criticising an important pop icon like Diana Ross in this episode.  Just look at my record collection, and you’ll see what I mean.

Pretty Lights' Making Up a Changing MindAt any rate, you know I’m a fan of getting awesome music for free.  I start this week’s show with a Pretty Lights* track from one of the three (!) EPs it released last year.  Pretty Lights is Derek Vincent Smith’s sample-crazy project, and he gives away all his music, in exchange for an email address.  Trust me, while the songs may start like RJD2, Jay Z or Moby, Smith turns your expectations on their head with some insane beats and just flat-out sick synth lines.  The music is mind-blowing, and the price is right.  Enjoy.

  1. “Total Fascination” – Pretty Lights (Making Up a Changing Mind / Pretty Lights Music / 2010 )
  2. “Up the Ladder to Roof” – The Supremes (Right On / Motown / 1970)
  3. “Cheap Lovin'” – The Supremes (The Supremes Produced and Arranged by Jimmy Webb / Motown / 1972)
  4. “Throw Me Over” – Common Children (Skywire / Tattoo / 1996)
  5. “Wildflower” – Cee-Lo Green (The Lady Killer / Elektra / 2010)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #67 (1/14/11)

*I’m listening to this show as I type, and I realized that I introduced the first artist as Pretty Things, not Pretty Lights.  The Pretty Things were, indeed, an awesome band, but not this band.  Sorry for the confusion.

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