Monday, July 26, 2010

Compare and Contrast: Extremely White People Sing Motown...

...specifically, two covers of Mary Wells' sublime "You Beat Me to the Punch." Co-written by Smokey Robinson, who, as you may recall, was called America's Greatest Poet by no less an authority than Bob Dylan.

First, from late 1964, here's a Merseybeat take by ex-Searcher Tony Jackson's ill-fated followup combo.

Jackson was the bassist (and frequent lead vocalist) of what's considered the classic Searchers lineup, and as you can plainly hear, there's more than a hint of his old band's "Needles and Pins" in this track.

And now from 1976, here's Nutley, NJ's finest The Hounds (featuring myself on inadequate guitar and background vocals) with a slightly more traditional rendition.

Those little piano-and-organ flourishes are, of course, very echt 60s, and in fact straight from the Ruby and the Romantics playbook. On the other hand, you'll notice that our version is a good twenty seconds shorter than Jackson's, due to our following the inviolable rule for white punk kids attempting classic R&B -- if you don't have much soul to speak of, speed the damn song up.