Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bakersfield Bop & Motown Pop

Mr. David Ruffin, Ladies & Gentlemen

The Rev-Lons After Last Night
Chris Clark Love's Gone Bad
Frank Wilson Do I Love You? (Indeed I Do)
David Ruffin Anything That You Ask For

The Rev-Lons were a mid-60's girl-group from Bakersfield, California comprised of Rachel Hernandez De La Rosa, Lupe Hernandez Gaona, and Frances Hernandez Crane, put together by hard-living producer Gary Paxton, the existence of which greatly influenced jailbird producer Phil Spector in his decision to put together The Ronettes. I love the way the trio slur the word "girlfriend." An obscure track from a much-mined time in pop music history, but great nonetheless.

From there, the final three were All-Rounder staples - northern soul hits that could easily fit into a string of Motown songs but didn't depend on being well-known or a soundtrack to put feet on the dancefloor. Love's Gone Bad is powerful, snapping, and direct. Chris Clark was nicknamed "the White Negress," owing to the power of her voice & her y'know, being white. She was also Motown founder Berry Gordy's girlfriend for a time. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) has the dubious quality of a single being known more for its price-tag (a copy sold for $37,000) than for the quality of the music, but this is one of my favourite songs. You might recognize the introduction - it was sampled by Spank Rock for Sweet Talk. David Ruffin was the bespectacled lead singer of The Temptations, known for his rich voice, a legacy of great songs, and unfortunately, shuffling away from this mortal coil much to early at the age of 50. This song has the quality of pleading married to exuberance that marks any great soul song.

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