So *That* holiday is only one weekend away. Another consumer holiday, now for the consumption of all the things that have the trappings of love, although, with this playlist I hope that I inspire you to dig a lil deeper this Valentine’s Day.
1) Whisper You Love Me Boy
The Supremes (1965)
This song was originally done by Mary Wells, then covered by Nella Dodds and Chris Clark. But I tip the hat to The Supremes version. Diana Ross at her seductive best, and with some of the richest harmonizing that Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson did. Compared to the Mary Wells version with an identical backing track, it seems less overwrought and has the perfect hint of slightly sleazy sexuality. Also it’s a good hint of how quiet stolen moments of whispering in your beloveds ear keep love alive.
2) Some of Your Lovin’
Dusty Springfield (1965)
Perhaps Dusty’s finest ballad moment of her early career, the song was originally done by The Cookies in one of their disguises in 1964, but The Dusty Springfield wise and weary version still takes the cake 45 years later. Although it’s the total flipside of being completely in love and devoted, it’s a remarkably naked plea for a lil love to keep a fire burning, and perhaps a bit too real…
3) We Can Make It
Ruby & The Romantics (1966)
Another year and another set of tough times have just passed and having faith that the best is waiting ahead of you, based on sheer determination. Throw in relative obscurity and one of the most cheerful arrangements I’ve ever heard, and you have this lost single.
4) It’s a Good Good Feeling
The Miracles (1966)
OK this is a simple descriptive song, not as clever/witty as Smokey Robinson’s own compositions on the subject, but one of the most enjoyable and gleeful ever.
5) Putty in Your Hands
The Shirelles (1962)
What’s love’s biggest holiday without a lil almost sado-masochistic devotion from a girl group. “You can use me, abuse me, but don’t refuse me” is too often a sentiment in said by too many once they are under the spell of love but it’s still a fun reminder that people can take being in love and being devoted a bit too far.
6) Headline News
Edwin Starr (1966)
New love should be big news, and celebrated with as much gusto as this “Oh, is that the funk brothers sneaking out cutting gold for Non-Motown folks again” classic by Edwin Starr. If anything this was the song that must have convinced Berry Gordy that, at least Artistically he had to have Ric-Tic/Golden World records because it matches the best the Four Tops ever did.
7) This is When I Need You Most
Martha & The Vandellas (1963)
The logical follow-up to “Come and Get these Memories” that languished on the LP of the same name can be seen as the exact opposite of “Whisper You Love Me Boy” and actually references that, for the newly single how much Valentine’s day can suck for you when everyone else is getting something (candy, flowers, cards) for this dreaded holiday while, you just gave someone walking papers for the New Year. Oops
8 ) You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)
Dionne Warwick (1964)
Dionne Warwick never fails for prim and proper advice straight out of the Bible to totally ice up Valentine’s day and remind you that if you screw up, not only will you lose the one you love, you might also face eternal damnation! Don’t ask me why this is one of my favorite songs of all time. It appeals to my inner ice queen. And those strings….
9) You’ve Got To Earn It
The Temptations (1965)
Again with the morality, but in the reality that well, you have to put forward some type of effort to actually receive things, especially love and affection in return. Also, that classic Eddie Kendricks falsetto sounding so smooth and aloof, the perfect contrast to the Warwick number above.
10) How Glad I Am
Nancy Wilson (1964)
Just because I’m tired and can’t think of anything more delightful than this breakthrough hit for Nancy Wilson.
Happy Valentines Day/Week to Lovers and Lovers at heart