Sammy Ward - Bread Winner
Today's selection is another foray into the diverse musical styles of the early days of Motown. Although by 1964 Berry Gordy's record empire was picking up serious steam with hits by The Miracles, The Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and others, the label was still dabbling with other styles of music in search of additional hits. "Singin'" Sammy Ward had recorded for Berry Gordy from the earliest days (his "What Makes You Love Him" appears on Episode #9 of the podcast). I find his recordings to be some of the best of the early material, as Ward brought a gospel intensity to the blues he sang. In a perfect word Ward's stuff would appear on comps alongside Bobby Bland and he would get the praise that he would deserve. In this imperfect world, however, we at least have wider access to his material thanks to the Complete Motown Singles series. "Bread Winner" is strictly about the latter half of "romance and finance," as Ward warns his woman what financial disasters will ensue since she's done him wrong. Such lyrics wouldn't work in today's time, but something about "you're gonna lose your Blue Cross plan" rings true in a world of rising health care costs!