Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The Four Tops - Four Tops (1965)


  

Released on 21 January 1965

Running time 26.39

The great thing about this impressive debut from The Four Tops is that, unlike many of their subsequent albums, it didn't contain a superb first side before descending into a second side of covers of songs from the musicals or The Beatles. As the saying goes, it is "all killer, no filler". It is full of good material from beginning to end. The sound quality is really good as well, full and warm and in stereo.

TRACK LISTING

1. Baby I Need Your Loving
2. Without The One You Love (Life's Not Worthwhile)
3. Where Did You Go
4. Ask The Lonely
5. Your Love Is Amazing
6. Sad Souvenirs
7. Don't Turn Away
8. Tea House In China Town
9. Left With A Broken Heart
10. Love Has Gone
11. Call On Me                                                       

"Baby I Need Your Loving" was a superb introduction to this magnificent vocal group, backed wonderfully by The Funk Brothers. Levi Stubb's magnificent lead vocal makes this track simply soar, as indeed does the rumbling bass and trademark Motown drum sound. "Without The One You Love (Life's Not Worthwhile)" is a very Northern Soul-ish floor-filler, with that killer beat and impossibly catchy refrain. The sumptuous mid-pace ballad "Where Did You Go" features Stubbs' iconic voice beautifully. "Ask The Lonely" was, along with "Baby I Need Your Loving", a single, and, although it was a sower number, it was a damn good one, with Stubbs' voice again dominating proceedings. It is slightly dated now, however, more so than the other single.

"Your Love Is Amazing" is a very typical mid-sixties Motown track, with that Northern Soul appeal there as well. "Sad Souvenirs" has echoes of The Drifters' "On Broadway" in its big, dramatic soul ballad feel. "Don't Turn Away" returns to that big Motown upbeat, brassy thump. This is good stuff, no throwaway "filler" here. "Tea House In China Town" is an atmospheric number that tells a good story over a bit of a mysterious bluesy but soulful backing.

Marv Johnson's "Left With A Broken Heart" is a Smokey Robinsn-esque number that is very much of its time, a bit more redolent of the early sixties as opposed to the mid-sixties, actually. "Love Has Gone" is a slow tear-jerker featuring some sublime cymbal work. "Call On Me" is a "You Send Me" ballad with more crystal clear percussion and it now goes without saying that the vocals are top notch. At just over twenty-five minutes, it is a very short album, but that was the way it was then.

B-

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