March 22, 1969: David Ruffin, Tommy Roe, Mama Cass, Sarah Vaughan & Billy Eckstine, Judy Collins

DAVID RUFFIN: My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me); I’ve Got To Find Myself A Brand New Baby (Tamla Motown TMG 689).
Not exactly going out on a limb to say that this will be a hit, as not only is it a smash in America, but also these days the climate seems right for ANYTHING from Motown, new or old. The ex-Temptation sounds exactly that as he does a “My Girl” type of song, and, although I hate to say it, this really is the formula as before. It’s a pretty good formula, though, and if the British public can stand all those older Tamlas, it can stand this also, as it steps back a few years in style. Equally nice flip has rather more expressive singing from Dave. Now the great British public will go and prove me wrong! CHART CERTAINTY

TOMMY ROE: Dizzy; The You I Need (Stateside SS 2143).
Erstwhile top popster from the early ’60s, Tommy’s just had a U.S. chart topper with this bit of superior Bubble Gum Music (unfair to call it that, really, but it is very Pop and has definite elements of that style). Nice rumbling piano and heavy violin bits, beat emphasized by organ, and a simple set of teen lyrics with catchy repetitive “Dizzy” chanting. Tommy always was a classy performer of dignified bearing, and it’s good to see him doing well again. Bright ‘n’ bouncy flip. The very busy Steve Barri produced. CHART PROBABILITY

MAMA CASS: Move In A Little Closer, Baby; I Can Dream Can’t I (Stateside/Dunhill SS 8014).
Cue for countless boring articles headlined “Mama Cass Anita Harris-s Harmony Grass”. So – it’s a good enough song, as most Radio 1 listeners can testify, and though she’s kinda big there’s room for Cass too. Try the quiet and melodic flip, which is a good smoochie. Another Steve Barri production. CHART POSSIBILITY. 

SARAH VAUGHAN & BILLY ECKSTINE: Passing Strangers; Always (Mercury MF 1082).
A brace of pretty songs, rendered in mellifluous style by dulcet-toned Miss V. and rich-voiced Mr. E., who complement each other admirably. Great chatting-up music.

JUDY COLLINS: Someday Soon; My Father (Elektra EKSN 45053).
Judy’s last American biggie missed out here, and this pleasant Ian Tyson-penned C&W-flavoured folksy (e.g.: the words are worth a listen) ditty about a 21-year-old ex-serviceman rodeo rider will probably suffer a similar fate, unless this has whetted some appetites. Steel guitar in backing. * * * * *

JERRY LEE LEWIS: To Make Love Sweeter For You; Let’s Talk About Us (Mercury MF 1088).
Jerry Lee just topped the U.S. C&W charts with this, and it sounds like it (‘cos it’s good). An attractive jog-trot ballad with nice sentiments lyric-wise, and the odd touch of steel guitar (the Sound of ’69). Wail. Jerry Lee! Reworked Lewis oldie on flip is O.K. too. * * * * *

DORSEY BURNETTE: The Greatest Love; Thin Little, Simple Little, Plain Little Girl (Liberty LBF 15190).
Another song by yer actual Joe South (in the Bobby Russell mould this time), recorded originally and rather better by Billy Joe Royal. This version by the late Johnny Burnette’s’ brother was even In the U.S. R&B chart, and was a multi-market minor hit. The BBC will play this. I am sure, so here are 5 * * * * *s.

THE PRIME MATES: Hot Tamales (Parts 1 & 2) (Action ACT 4530).
Dug best if played at full volume . . . great, simple, no messin’, repetitive, instrumental groover, with everyone taking a solo turn. Produced by those New Orleans-ites, Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn. * * * *

Z.Z. HILL: Make Me Yours; What Am I Living For (Action ACT 4532).
Both from Zee Zee’s album “A Whole Lot Of Soul”. on which he renders a whole lot of other singers’ hits. Here It’s Bettye Swann’s and Chuck Willis’s (the best). * * * *

RICHARD MANDEL: Loneliness; Young And Warm And Wonderful (London HL 10256).
Who is Richard Mandel? He performs these curiously dated, but good, sides as though impersonating the Ben E. King of eight years ago. Information please! * * * *

STEPPENWOLF: Rock Me; Jupiter’s Child (Stateside/Dunhill SS 8013).
Go and see the sextravagant movie “Candy”, and you may fail to notice this bit of innocuous “Rock” while your eyes are busy. Until the African drumming grand finale It’s fairly dull. (No, not the Blues classic.) Hackneyed guitar sound on flip. Rising fast Stateside. * * * *

THE CHERRY PEOPLE: Gotta Get Back (To The Good Life); I’m The One Who Loves You (MGM 1472).
Energetic toe-tapper with heavy bass ‘n’ drum breaks and semi-frantic singing. Interesting vocal sound (both lead and answering group) combined with bright backing make a nice B-side, worthy of note. * * * *

SUGAR AND SPICE: Cruel War; Not To Return (London HLU 10259).
All excited ‘cos of similarly yclept new Soul duo, only to find a slow and sweet girlie group doing a lush reading of the traditional tune. Flip is ’64 sounding and nice. though! Nostalgi-cats, try it! * * * *

2 thoughts on “March 22, 1969: David Ruffin, Tommy Roe, Mama Cass, Sarah Vaughan & Billy Eckstine, Judy Collins”

  1. wooowww 1969 Cats & Dug best if played at full volume contextual terminology, really groovy – even I am not that old, thank you for your ongoing work.


  2. The awesome David Ruffin single was of course a massive…FLOP in the UK. Another one of those superb records that were big in the states that failed to click here. Fat shaming Mama Cass? Mmm


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