Saturday, 6 February 2021

Motown also-rans

These are all Motown artists whose work I have not reviewed on an individual basis, so I have briefly acknowledged their best songs here. None of them were particularly known for their album output, but, between them, they released some unforgettable singles.

The Marvelettes were an all-girl vocal group that recorded between 1960 and 1970. Their best-known hits were Please Mr. Postman (later covered by The Carpenters), Beechwood 4-5789, Too Many Fish In the Sea, Don't Mess With Bill, The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game and the beautiful When You're Young And In Love.

The Velvelettes recorded between 1961 and 1970 and were best known for their hits He Was Really Sayin' Something (covered by Bananarama), Needle In A Haystack, Lonely, Lonely Girl Am I, A Bird In The Hand (Is Worth Two In The Bush) and These Things Will Keep Me Loving You.

R. Dean Taylor was one of those rare things, a white Motown artists. His three big hits were Indiana Wants Me, Gotta See Jane and There's A Ghost In My House, the latter of which became popular on the Northern Soul circuit in the seventies.

Barbara Randolph's most memorable song was the stonking Northern Soul number I Got A Feeling, which remains my favourite Northern Soul number of all time. Also known for one big hit was Yvonne Fair, who charted in 1976 with the unique, minimalist sound of It Should Have Been Me. She also had a couple of fine rarities in the funky You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover and Stay A Little Longer.

Deliverers of ballads were Barbara McNair and Brenda Holloway, the former best known for Everything Is Good About You and the latter for Every Little Bit Hurts, Operator and All I Do Is Think About You.

The Contours were one of the label's first male vocal groups and they had some killer hits with Do You Love Me, First I Look At The Purse and the iconic Northern Soul floor filler Just A Little Misunderstanding.

The Elgins were a male-female vocal group best remembered for Put Yourself In My Place and the wonderfully uplifting Heaven Must Have Sent You


  1. Don't Mess With Bill should be more famous. It should be right up there with the more famous Motowns. I gotta hear those other R Dean Taylor ones cuz I never did. I always loved Indiana. Especially those sirens. lol

  2. Yes there's something special about Indiana Wants Me.

    Incidentally, they're slagging off disco over on Aphoristical's "10 worst 70's songs" post. I'm not having that! I put ten great disco tracks up. I could have done thirty more, to be honest.

    I prefer "best of" lists if I have to go down the list route. What's the point of going on about what you don't like.