THE SUPREMES: Automatically Sunshine (Motown).
The girls seem to be sticking with Smokey at the moment, and this Robinson-penned/prod light beater is the team’s follow-up to the superb “Floy Joy“. Although it starts out with a subdued version of the stomping intro to that last one, it soon becomes clear that the attack is going to be nothing like as powerful – and, indeed, this turns out to be no more than a pleasant mid-tempo clomper, quite pretty but with diffused impact. The flip, “Precious Little Things” (co-penned by Smokey with the Miracles’ guitarist, Marv Tarplin, and a P. Moffett), is a rather nice wistful little bossa-nova, enhanced by lovely backing.
JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS: Walk In The Night (Soul).
Autry seems to be returning to jazz a bit more these days – not to mean that this is a jazz record, because it’s still much too “Pop” in its splurging chicks ‘n strings, but his playing on this pretty-harmonies-backed medium-paced plodding instrumental is rather more fluid and less angular than on his hits of old. Subtract the schmaltz content and it would hold up well on its own: however, with the schmaltz left in, as it is, this IS rather lovely . . . and makes a good companion for Isaac Hayes’ “Let’s Stay Together” instrumental.
On the flip, Autry gets to wailing grips with Gladys Knight’s “I Don’t Want To Do Wrong.” Gladys herself has just exited the US Charts with her dead slow version of that Kris Kristofferson bore, “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” onto which she has added an embarrassing intro rap, and with which she has succeeded to make the record that it is, if possible, even more lacking in warmth and emotion than Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” That must have been difficult, for the Queen of Soul.
100 PROOF (AGED IN SOUL): Everything Good is Bad (Hot Wax).
The “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” trio (minus the great Joe Stubbs, unfortunately) are back in the Charts with this semi-slow message song, which benefits from some pretty flute tootling and generally good if doom-laden backing. Everything good is bad, and everything bad is good, in black slang (viz: “that’s a bad mutha…”, meaning “I say, chaps, that’s jolly good, what?”), which is probably the hook that’s selling this, because in other respects it is a bit lacking in vitality. Continue reading “May 27, 1972: Supremes, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, 100 Proof (Aged In Soul), Andy Williams, James Brown”