true faith : GIRL AFRAID #1

by • September 10, 2014 • Drums & wiresComments (2)1413

As regular readers will know, we occasionally go off-road from the unrelenting gloom of following Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United and in spasms of naked self-indulgence, dive into a bit of the music we like now and again. 

I do have to remind some of our militant-NUFC only faction that if they don’t approve, object or whatever to us doing this kind of thing , they have the ability to exercise their option not to open up this page on the site. 

We have recently recruited a new writer to our stable of scribblers who under the pen-name GIRL AFRAID will give us if not weekly, regular bits and pieces to idly consider as we waste our lives day-dreaming of better things. 

Roll of the drums, off we go. 

I put a big tick against a box on my bucket list this week when I went to see marthaMotown legends Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. What an amazing performance and my sister and I left the gig buzzing (Ed: full review in the next issue of true faith) .  I’ve had a lifelong love of Motown music. My sister was and still is Motown mad and so at an early age I was brainwashed with the songs and music.  Not a bad thing for a child to endure. I often stood on our hearth rug (stage) and sang into a hair brush (microphone), trying my best to do the famous sleek Motown moves. I must have irritated her so much!

The Motown label was formed by Berry Gordy Jnr in Detroit Michigan in 1959.tamlalogo

With its iconic logo, the name derived from the City of Detroit being the centre of the motor industry Motor-Town. Motown played an important role in the racial integration of soul into popular music. The music has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed generations later. My sister often says ‘they don’t make them like that anymore’? I don’t know if that is true, but one thing I do know is that these songs of love, heartbreak, tragedy and happiness are amazing. Recorded in a time with no digital technology we can truly appreciate the talent of their effortless vocals.

The 5 tracks I have chosen for my true faith debut are favourites but come from a huge list, so many artists so many songs and all wonderful…. its Motown Magic

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas –Jimmy Mack

Martha and the Vandellas, topped the charts on the Motown label from 1963-1972. They charted over 26 hits and were one of the original girl groups. Their most famous hit ‘Dancing in the Street’ is now celebrating its 50th year and has been covered by many artists. This was a favourite of mine until Bowie and Jagger slaughtered it.  I still cringe when I see that video.

This track is undoubtedly my favourite a well-known Northern Soul track and seeing the reception it got at the gig, a big crowd pleaser.  Martha has been quoted as saying that ‘Jimmy Mack’ is a legend of a song! I agree Martha it is and I also wonder if Jimmy ever did come back?

Diana Ross and the Supremes-No Matter What Sign You Are

Diana Ross is far from my favourite Motown star, in fact she irritates me.  I feel she’s become a Diva and a bit of an embarrassing caricature of herself. Just my opinion, ignore me.  However I can’t deny her amazing talent. Diana and the Supremes were the Motown labels premier act. They were the most commercially successful and it was claimed that at their peak in the mid-60s, they rivalled The Beatles in worldwide popularity!

I love this track not one of their better known but my favourite of theirs. Her screechy screams and the Supremes fab harmonies are lush. Where’s me hairbrush? (microphone)

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – You’re All I Need to Get By

Two for the price of one. Marvin is one of my favourite male vocalists ever – I love this man’s voice.  Team it with Tammi and you have an amazing legacy.

Tragically both of died young, Marvin was shot by his father at the age of 45 after an argument over money. Tammi collapsed in Marvin’s arms on stage and was later diagnosed and died of a brain tumour at the age of 24.

This to me is their most notable song. The track hosts a no fail combination of artists input. Marvin and Tammi on lead vocals, Ashford and Simpson wrote, produced and  provided backing vocals. The Funk Brothers play the instrumental WOW!

The Temptations – My Girl

The Temptations were the first Motown artists to receive a Grammy award. Their flash choreography, sleek harmonies and flamboyant wardrobe have made them a Motown favourite for decades. They received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

My Girl was written by Smokey Robinson for his wife Claudette and has been the biggest No1 hit and also their signature tune. I would say this song has one of the most recognisable opening riffs ever.

Gladys Knight and the Pips – Take Me In Your Arms and Love Me

Ah Gladys! My favourite, goose bumps still when I hear her voice. In my opinion Gladys is far superior an artist to Diana Ross.  Gladys and her Pips toured with The Supremes as their opening act in the 60s.  I’ve heard it said on several occasions that Diana pulled the plug on this because the audience’s reception of Gladys outshone hers. I listen to Gladys daily and this is one of my favourite songs and well, I always save the best until last…tell them Gladys…

 

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2 Responses to true faith : GIRL AFRAID #1

  1. Wallace Wilson says:

    I don’t agree with a single choice but that’s probably because the choice is so vast. Personally my top 5 (in no order) would be
    1. Superstition (the best opening riff to any song, ever
    2. I’ll Be There by the Four Tops (just look over your shoulder, honey)
    3. Tracks of My Tears – is this Smokey’s greatest song or is
    4. Tears of a Clown?
    5. Ok, I’ll give you My Girl
    but then I always did prefer Atlantic really
    Good luck with the column – good starty

  2. Pat Hughes says:

    I agree, the choice is too vast to consider agreement although My Girl is a classic but you need someone special to enjoy it with. Tears of a Clown over Tracks of my Tears but only by a tiny margin. So my current top 5 (as it can vary over time) would be, in no particular order, 1. He’s So Fine – The Chiffons 2. Please Mr Postman – The Marvelettes 3. Get Ready – The Temptations 4. How Sweet It Is – Jr Walker 5. Dancing in the Streets – Martha Reeves.

    I really enjoyed this article and want more 🙂