Wednesday, July 11, 2007
An Apology, and Part 2 of "An Unfair Assessment?"
Chris Clark - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
Internet soul fandom is a fantastic thing, as it allows all of us to share the music we love with one another and to engage in occasional, to be diplomatic about it, spirited debate about various songs, artists, records, record companies, etc. Of course, one of the major limitations of the internet is that absent DJ voiceover work on podcasts and the like, the written word is our only means of communication, and what comes out in print doesn't always match what we mean to say. A couple of recent things have brought this to mind. One came recently in connection with a great, as usual, post by Larry Grogan on his Funky 16 Corners blog about Chris Clark and her Motown record "Love's Gone Bad." In commenting on the post, I mentioned that Clark was dating Berry Gordy at the time of the record's 1966 release. Well, further along the comment trail appeared Ms. Clark herself, and she started by saying "My boyfriends aside ..."
Maybe I am over-reacting, but suddenly I felt like a heel, because the bare reading of my words (followed by Larry's response to my comment) probably appeared to Ms. Clark to be saying that the only reason I thought "Love's Gone Bad" was released was because of her relationship with Gordy, which of course was not what I meant. Did it help her fledgling - and ultimately unsuccessful - recording career? Maybe, but to leave the statement "as-is" denies that Ms. Clark had talent and that "Love's Gone Bad" is a fine record. If by any strange chance that Ms. Clark should read this blog, and if she thinks that's the message that my comment suggested, I apologize for it.
OK, having cleared the air on that score, I'll dive into discussing today's selection. In one of the other comments, a commenter dismissed her version of Frank Wilson's Northern Soul "Holy Grail" record "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" as "anemic" in comparison to the Wilson original. Like the case of the Sam & Dave Atlantic sides I discussed on Monday, I think that assessment is somewhat unfair. First of all, I think that "Do I Love You" is a great song, but I also think the scarcity of the Wilson 45 (see my post from 2005 about that) has made people think more highly of it than they would, say, if it had been formally released and it had gone on to be a staple of oldies radio like "My Girl" has. The tune is a catchy dancer with pleasant lyrics, like a great many Motown records, but it's not "lightning in a bottle," and it's only natural that another Motown act would cover it at some point down the road. The awesome surging rhythm track stirs the soul on Clark's version of the record just as strongly as it does on the Wilson version, and Clark's vocals are, in my opinion, just fine. I mean, at least her version did get a formal release, which says something!