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  1. #1

    Rock A Bye Your Baby W/ A Dixie Melody

    I've always hated this song, so much so that currently it's probably been double digit years since I've last heard the Supremes' At the Copa version. However, the studio version is one of my absolute favorite Diana vocal performances. And Flo and Mary weren't half steppin either.


  2. #2
    I always loved the song, ever since seeing the JOLSON STORY way back when. And as a kid, I remember buying Jerry Lewis' version which was a hit, and a few years later, Aretha did it when she was still at Columbia. I liked all of those versions, but like you, I did not care for the Supremes' Copa version.

    Like you, I think the studio version, that you posted above, is excellent.

    But this performance of the Supremes singing it is still fun to watch.


  3. #3
    Yeah, fun to watch, if still a bit corny. Lol

  4. #4
    Was this song in their show all that long? there are pics of the girls as late as 66 doing the hat and cane routine (in the red sequin gowns they wore on R&H Today). but our only recorded version is Copa. seems like once they started the Orient tour and then Flamingo in Sept 66 (along with the Roostertail show we got on Symphony EE) it was gone from the act.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I've always hated this song, so much so that currently it's probably been double digit years since I've last heard the Supremes' At the Copa version. However, the studio version is one of my absolute favorite Diana vocal performances. And Flo and Mary weren't half steppin either.

    I hated this kind of stuff. I never played it and wished they hadn't done it.

  6. #6
    I never liked the girls doing the standards when I was young but I've grown to love these songs as well as how the Motown artists interpreted the great American songbook. "There's a Place for Us" is my favorite of all the Hip-O "unreleased" albums and I think it's full of gems from start to finish, not just because of the "real" standards like "Dixie" and "Somewhere" (well I guess you'd have to say that was a show tune, maybe not a standard though I think it's become one by now) but even the "pseudo" standards like "Fancy Passes." Though I probably would not have cared for this album if I'd bought it 20 or 30 years ago, I love it now.

  7. #7
    i've always liked this aspect of the girls and it's a huge reason as to how they evolved from a girl group in the "rock" world to top world-class entertainers

    now some of songs and efforts worked better than others. mostly based on when they were recorded. the earlier material is less refined in terms of production and backing track arrangement. But it also contained a more balanced use of all 3 girls.

  8. #8
    I just can't get into three young black women from the ghetto in Detroit singing about a "Dixie Melody" and in the sixties? Not my bag!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Was this song in their show all that long? there are pics of the girls as late as 66 doing the hat and cane routine (in the red sequin gowns they wore on R&H Today). but our only recorded version is Copa. seems like once they started the Orient tour and then Flamingo in Sept 66 (along with the Roostertail show we got on Symphony EE) it was gone from the act.
    I don't know. I know the photo you're referencing and it makes sense that the song they're doing is "Dixie Melody", but for how long and how often the song was in the set, I don't know. Perhaps it was a replacement number in 1966 for when, for whatever reason, a particular show tune wouldn't work for a particular show. But that's a bit far fetched because the hat and cane act doesn't strike me as one easily slipped into the lineup. Seems like it would need a lot of preparation.

    It's also possible that the song was slipped in and out of the lineup due to the audience the girls were performing for. I can imagine the Copa audience eating up the girls singing about a Dixie melody, but I can also see the reasoning behind ditching it when in front of the hometown crowd or when in front of servicemen overseas, a number of whom would've been Black and probably not too interested in Dixie melodies.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    You always have something to say that works on two levels, right on target and yet a quip that is funny as hell: "double digit years"- yeah, I'd say you definitely don't like this song.

    And yet, funny that you mention this unreleased version from this unreleased album. I had the same reaction when I heard this studio version. I was pleasantly surprised. This version has some meat on its bones. Sure, it's a standard, but all the standards on this album have a quality that "rocks" in a way none of the standards on the "I Hear A Symphony" album did. These are along the lines of what Micky Stevenson did with Mary Wells on her "My Guy" album. I wish material from this album had been used on the "Symphony" album.

    I don't know if these were done with the Funk Brothers, but I also notice there is none of the bathos (look it up, I LOVE this word, and it FITS) and overblown histrionics in the music that often ended up on Motown's LA and New York recordings of standards. This version of "Rock-A-Bye" just SWINGS and has swagger.

    And yes, you're right, it's one of Diana's most incredible performances. She sounds like she's singing more instinctively as opposed to doing a technically "right" way and that gives her performance an excitement.
    Excellent point about the Place For Us sessions vs the Symphony sessions. I completely agree. The tracks on most of the Symphony album are dull and lack the character you would hope an r&b/pop group would have as backing at the time. That's one reason why my vote (had I been born and had I been given any say so at Hitsville) would've been for the I Hear A Symphony album to scrap the MOR stuff and replace with typical Motown Sound songs. However, admittedly I do enjoy their "Stranger In Paradise". Florence in particular shines on it and makes the song worth listening to IMO. I also enjoy "Wonderful, Wonderful". Diana sounds particularly enchanting on it. "Unchained Melody" could've been so much better with a deeper track. The girls sound good on it, but the backing is so listless. Patti and the Bluebelles have a killer version of it.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I just can't get into three young black women from the ghetto in Detroit singing about a "Dixie Melody" and in the sixties? Not my bag!
    Honestly, that's part of why the song from the Copa didn't appeal to me. However, in the studio version I overlook the lyrics and get into the vocal performances of the three ladies.

    I think it was the guy that wrote the most recent book about the Supremes (is his name Ribowsky?) who tried to use "Rock A Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" as a sign that the Supremes had sold out. After all, what Black woman would sing such a historically ignorant song, right? But he completely bypassed the fact that the Queen of Soul herself recorded and released the song years before the Supremes did. I think a lot of Black artists at the time were simply doing what they could to crossover or maintain crossover success. In the case of the Supremes, I think the content of the song wasn't anywhere near as egregious as that of say "Dixie"..."I wish I was in the land of cotton..."

  12. #12
    Dixie !!! OMG !

    Don't let that Kaepernick crowd catch wind of this Supremes' recording! They'll have it permanently purged from the Motown catalogue!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Honestly, that's part of why the song from the Copa didn't appeal to me. However, in the studio version I overlook the lyrics and get into the vocal performances of the three ladies.

    I think it was the guy that wrote the most recent book about the Supremes (is his name Ribowsky?) who tried to use "Rock A Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" as a sign that the Supremes had sold out. After all, what Black woman would sing such a historically ignorant song, right? But he completely bypassed the fact that the Queen of Soul herself recorded and released the song years before the Supremes did. I think a lot of Black artists at the time were simply doing what they could to crossover or maintain crossover success. In the case of the Supremes, I think the content of the song wasn't anywhere near as egregious as that of say "Dixie"..."I wish I was in the land of cotton..."
    Aretha sang it throughout her career, even on her 1986 Showtime special.

  14. #14
    this song is hardly any more offensive than Ole Man River, which the temps sang for years. or mame with the girls and diana sang for years

    The girls also revised the lyrics slightly of this and Mame. they didn't include all of the verses/words.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    this song is hardly any more offensive than Ole Man River, which the temps sang for years. or mame with the girls and diana sang for years

    The girls also revised the lyrics slightly of this and Mame. they didn't include all of the verses/words.
    Yeah, that "Old Black Joe" business would have been career suicide.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Dixie !!! OMG !

    Don't let that Kaepernick crowd catch wind of this Supremes' recording! They'll have it permanently purged from the Motown catalogue!
    Well it should! Especially since they (the Motortown Revue) were shot at in good ole Dixie! Give me a break.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    this song is hardly any more offensive than Ole Man River, which the temps sang for years. or mame with the girls and diana sang for years

    The girls also revised the lyrics slightly of this and Mame. they didn't include all of the verses/words.
    Do you honestly think I cared for those songs? Motown was clearly pandering and it cost them some of their black audience at the time.

  18. #18
    Thank God for the courage of that “Kaepernick crowd.”

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Thank God for the courage of that “Kaepernick crowd.”
    You'd better believe it!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Thank God for the courage of that “Kaepernick crowd.”
    Thank you. Tell the truth and shame the devil.

  21. #21
    I love the There's. a Place collection but as mentioned previously...I was not a fan of Copa live .to many standards for me but the vocals are good on this. I really enjoy the versatility of the group

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    this song is hardly any more offensive than Ole Man River, which the temps sang for years. or mame with the girls and diana sang for years

    The girls also revised the lyrics slightly of this and Mame. they didn't include all of the verses/words.
    That's true. On "Rock-a-Bye," Diane avoids the "Mammy mine" lyric and most definitely changes it to "Mommy mine."

    As skittish as we may be today about such lyrics, some of those songs which this one tries to emulate, such as Stephen Foster's, are part of American musical history.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    That's true. On "Rock-a-Bye," Diane avoids the "Mammy mine" lyric and most definitely changes it to "Mommy mine."

    As skittish as we may be today about such lyrics, some of those songs which this one tries to emulate, such as Stephen Foster's, are part of American musical history.
    Yeah, well I hated songs like this even then when I was a kid.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Yeah, well I hated songs like this even then when I was a kid.
    Well, I'm not claiming they're all worthy of a listen! LOL

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Well, I'm not claiming they're all worthy of a listen! LOL
    It just makes me crazy now to think that they had to do all of that back in the day just to crossover!

  26. #26
    @marv2, but you know what's ironic? Some of the Motown artists like the 4 Tops and Marvin Gaye were almost more comfortable with the standards catalog than they were with the Motown fare they hit the charts with. I still love the unreleased "Breaking Through" album almost as much or more than any of their released Motown albums. And I haven't always appreciated Gaye's albums like "Soulful Moods," but I've come to really like "When I'm Alone I Cry" and the Nat King Cole tribute album. Just an odd thought that crossed my mind, the 4 Tops really were from a different background than most of the other groups on Motown and Gaye (and I guess Smokey too, according to him) drew their inspiration from those more mainstream artists of the time.

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