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  1. #1

    The Miracles - "Speak Low"

    I'm struggling to find any redeeming features with this recording. Your views?


  2. #2
    Wow...that is shockingly awful. How could they mess up such a beautiful song like that?
    It almost sounds distorted. Like a record playing faster then slower.

  3. #3
    Wow! Sounds like doo wop meets MOR and the meeting does not end well. Not a song I'd go out of my way to listen to more than once.

  4. #4
    Do you mean the one from the lp[i'll try something new]? I love it,smokey put that cool doo-wop sound on it and it's a gem.

  5. #5
    Uh, urrr, that was uh pretty bad. There is too much going on in that record at the same time. It's like the backing vocals are from a different session than what was needed for this recording. LOL!
    Last edited by marv2; 10-01-2018 at 09:37 PM.

  6. #6
    Hehehehe,hey marv,i don't think that smokey was trying to get a hit,just filler with a nice standard.

  7. #7
    Lol you guys don't like this song. Frankly, I expected not to like it at all (standard done in the early Motown doo-wop sound and all) but I mean, it's alright. I had never heard or listened to any version of "Speak Low" before though so I have nothing to compare it to.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Hehehehe,hey marv,i don't think that smokey was trying to get a hit,just filler with a nice standard.
    I cannot imagine why they would do this?...this kind of record. LOL!!!

  9. #9
    For Tomatotom, and anyone else who hasn't heard the song before, there's a zillion versions on youtube, but try a minute of this one. How it should be done!
    https://youtu.be/a6DwEGPuyBs

  10. #10
    Nice version.
    Barbara McNair would have done it proud.

  11. #11
    Hey marv,i think that berry wanted his artist to sing songs like this to broaden their musical horizon.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Hey marv,i think that berry wanted his artist to sing songs like this to broaden their musical horizon.
    Yeah, I know that was Mr. Gordy's strategy, to crossover but sometimes things just got a bit out of hand like when the Supremes sang that Liverpool album. LOL!

  13. #13
    Sometimes, Motown would do a good job in covering the songs of others including standards. The Miracles "Speak Low" wasn't one of those times.

  14. #14
    You guys are making me listen so critically to a song that I always thought was actually kind of okay! I mean, it's not a great record but I think it's a good one. I have to agree though when I listen to it here the background vocals and even instrumentation seem a little out of sync.

    But I love Smokey's vocal on this still. It's an old show tune, I think by Cole Porter, and was one of the tracks originally recorded for the "Miracles Sing Modern" album which never came to be.

    But something about these early Motown sides where they're doing a song standard, with these mostly still very young groups, with their raw innocence, to me is very captivating, like the 4 Tops "Breaking Through," Marvin Gaye's "Soulful Moods," Supremes "Sam Cooke" and the like. It was just such a different time, and even if Motown didn't always succeed, I love for what they always tried to do in these pop standards. That being said, I didn't like any of those albums when I was younger but came to love them as I came to appreciate that material more and more.

    I will say that one attempt at this that I still can't come to enjoy is the Stevie Wonder "With a Song in My Heart" album. He seems just way too young to sing some of the standards on that album and his voice is is kind of near-falsetto on some songs, a style he dropped after that album I think! On the other hand, I love his "Tribute to Uncle Ray" album and think he really wailed on some of those selections!
    Last edited by kenneth; 10-04-2018 at 12:46 AM.

  15. #15
    Hey, Kenneth, this is actually a Kurt Weill tune originally from One Touch of Venus.

  16. #16
    Oh thanks Sansradio! I guess that's why I think I heard Mary Martin sing it. I think she was in that show.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Oh thanks Sansradio! I guess that's why I think I heard Mary Martin sing it. I think she was in that show.
    You’re welcome! Cool! Gotta look La Martin’s version up. For my money, though, you can’t beat Lady Day’s rendition.

    Last edited by sansradio; 10-04-2018 at 02:17 AM.

  18. #18
    @Sansradio, Yes that is lovely. I think Lady Day and Nina Simone both could sing the phone book and I'd listen, captivated.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I will say that one attempt at this that I still can't come to enjoy is the Stevie Wonder "With a Song in My Heart" album. He seems just way too young to sing some of the standards on that album and his voice is is kind of near-falsetto on some songs, a style he dropped after that album I think! On the other hand, I love his "Tribute to Uncle Ray" album and think he really wailed on some of those selections!
    In a book I read on Stevie, they specifically mentioned this album. Apparently, the tracks were recorded before Stevie went on a tour. When he returned, his voice had started changing but he recorded vocals on the same tracks anyway even though they were now too high. That probably accounts for the falsetto style he used on that album.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    In a book I read on Stevie, they specifically mentioned this album. Apparently, the tracks were recorded before Stevie went on a tour. When he returned, his voice had started changing but he recorded vocals on the same tracks anyway even though they were now too high. That probably accounts for the falsetto style he used on that album.
    That is a fascinating insight, Reese. Thanks for the information. Kind of an obvious answer, I suppose, but I would have never thought of that.

  21. #21
    The more recent solo Smokey Robinson version of "Speak Low," more than makes up for the earlier Miracles version for vocal sins, real or imagined, committed against this jazz standard. https://youtu.be/rpbRdmAtbM4

  22. Been reading this thread and it's got me now questioning my taste in music because I like the standards on the "I'll Try Something New Album." I like this version of "Speak Low." There is something so earnest and oddly "cozy" about this that I like it a lot. But then again, I'm the only goon who like anchovies on his pizza!

    Actually, this whole thread became fun once I recalled something a member here told me on another thread: everything doesn't have to be so serious all the time! I learned I'm in the minority on this one but it's rather like someone who wears a very ugly shirt, only he doesn't know it's ugly until he hears every last friend and family member tell him how ugly it is!

    I'm saying this all in fun, but there is something I thought about today when the Marcel's version of "Blue Moon" came on the radio today. I immediately thought about this thread. I'm wondering if the thought was, since the Marcels had a hit by destroying a Rodgers and Hart classic by installing a doo-wop beat to it, why couldn't it work for The Miracles?

  23. #23
    @waitingwatching that makes three things we have in common. The Marvelettes, liking this song, and anchovies on pizza! And you know, being an anchovy lover isnít easy. You can only eat pizza alone because nobody else likes it!

    And actually. Your observation in comparing the recording to blue Moon by the Marcels is pretty insightful I would say. I think it quite likely there was some influence there.
    Last edited by kenneth; 10-06-2018 at 07:02 PM.

  24. Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @waitingwatching that makes three things we have in common. The Marvelettes, liking this song, and anchovies on pizza! And you know, being an anchovy lover isn’t easy. You can only eat pizza alone because nobody else likes it!

    And actually. Your observation in comparing the recording to blue Moon by the Marcels is pretty insightful I would say. I think it quite likely there was some influence there.
    Hi Kenneth- well that makes me feel better! The "I'll Try Something New" album was a favorite of mine when I first played it as a 17 year-old. I found my copy as one of those Natural Resources re-issues. Just sounded like the group was having fun trying "something new" by doing the standards, but at the same time, giving them a fresher doo-wop/early Motown sound. Berry always had his ear out for what was going on the radio, so it would be interesting to find "Blue Moon" did influence him here.

    I think the anchovy thing sometimes is a plus: I don't mind having a whole pizza to myself!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Desjardines View Post
    The more recent solo Smokey Robinson version of "Speak Low," more than makes up for the earlier Miracles version for vocal sins, real or imagined, committed against this jazz standard. https://youtu.be/rpbRdmAtbM4
    Thankfully Smoke was given the opportunity to take another stab at this tune later in his
    career because that first cover was an absolute mess even for me who never thought I'd
    hear a Smokey Robinson song I had to stop before it was finished. Because my taste
    are so different than most of the folks around I actually expected to like it. My bad! Didn't happen...That rhythm sounds like cowboy music and the instrumentation is too
    cluttered with each going in a different direction....Dang!...Did Smoke really believe it
    was working? I hope not....

  26. Quote Originally Posted by splanky View Post
    Dang!...Did Smoke really believe it
    was working? I hope not....
    I think everyone here believes Smokey alone was responsible for the production but if a song is going to be gleefully pulverized, give discredit where discredit is due: this one was produced by William Stevenson...

    http://www.dftmc.info/titles/ts-07.htm

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @waitingwatching that makes three things we have in common. The Marvelettes, liking this song, and anchovies on pizza! And you know, being an anchovy lover isn’t easy. You can only eat pizza alone because nobody else likes it!

    And actually. Your observation in comparing the recording to blue Moon by the Marcels is pretty insightful I would say. I think it quite likely there was some influence there.
    I like anchovies on my pizza too! Learn that from living in Philly. LOL!

  28. Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I like anchovies on my pizza too! Learn that from living in Philly. LOL!
    When I was a kid, I only heard about anchovies on television and always wondered just what they were. Nobody ever seemed to like 'em. Finally got to be grown enough to buy my own pizza, ha ha. I tried it and liked it. Yeah, they are very salty, but they taste fine to me on my pizza.

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