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  1. #1

    Webb LP/Song Selection....5.30 PLANE

    I posted some of this in another thread. I decided to expand it a bit here.
    Do you think the Webb LP would have been a more favorable LP had it contained 5-6 of JW's more familiar songs? Despite the choir included 5.30 PLANE is IMHO a Jean Terrell masterpiece...I can accept IGITM being included as the last song on the LP as a "featured bonus cut" it being another subtle Terrell standout, and selected for the LP'S single. I would have liked By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Didn't We, MacArthur Park, Galveston and The Girls Song....possibly others. I wish he had limited the vocals to the trio...I wonder how many people glanced at the LP and thought "Nah, not enough familiar songs" and decided not to make a speculative investment at list or new release sale price? I my 13 yr. old self got the single and waited for the LP to be in the cut out bin.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    I posted some of this in another thread. I decided to expand it a bit here.
    Do you think the Webb LP would have been a more favorable LP had it contained 5-6 of JW's more familiar songs? Despite the choir included 5.30 PLANE is IMHO a Jean Terrell masterpiece...I can accept IGITM being included as the last song on the LP as a "featured bonus cut" it being another subtle Terrell standout, and selected for the LP'S single. I would have liked By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Didn't We, MacArthur Park, Galveston and The Girls Song....possibly others. I wish he had limited the vocals to the trio...I wonder how many people glanced at the LP and thought "Nah, not enough familiar songs" and decided not to make a speculative investment at list or new release sale price? I my 13 yr. old self got the single and waited for the LP to be in the cut out bin.
    Perhaps it would have been a stronger album had there been a few familiar tunes on there. It could hardly have been worse, but i am not sure fans were ready to hear versions of Phoenix, Galveston etc . I think the whole idea of a Jimmy Webb album was a disaster. He remains a very talented songwriter, but it was like putting a square peg in a round hole. i can barely listen to it without cringing over 45 years after the event.
    Last edited by Bluebrock; 11-08-2019 at 03:33 AM. Reason: Not finished the post

  3. #3
    "5:30 Plane" is definitely a standout of the album. I rank it as high as some of the hits. Brilliant vocal from Jean. While including more well known cuts would've probably helped the album a bit, I really believe that the style of the productions weren't pleasing to the general public when they see the name "Supremes". The Supremes have never been a hard r&b group. I think categorizing them as pop/soul, both with Diana as lead and with Jean as lead, has always been the most appropriate label for the group...if a label is necessary at all. I think the public has always gravitated more toward the Supremes healthy mix of soul and pop than when they went too heavy one way or the other. The cuts that ended up on JW do not sound like songs that would've appealed to fans of soul in particular. And as much as people like to give weight to the Supremes pop popularity, they could at times be hit and miss with pop audiences, while often more consistent with r&b audiences. At a time when the group's popularity was waning- whatever the reason- alienating a large portion of the fandom with the type of sound on the JW album just didn't make sense. Had these same songs been cut with a band like the Funks or any capable group of musicians, the album may have fared better.

    In addition to that issue, there is also the fact that the one single from the album didn't knock anyone out whenever it was played on the radio. (Although my personal opinion is that it's one of Jean's finest vocal performances.) And then on top of that, the cover didn't even feature the Supremes. So where even casual fans might have been tempted to pick the album up (as in hold it in their hands) because of the gorgeous women on the cover, see it's the Supremes, notice Jimmy Webb's involvement, and think "Why not?", they instead saw a photo of a weed and the sun, probably didn't even notice the group name in the blend in color, and moved past it to something more eye catching.

    IMO this album was dead from it's conception. Not wanting to pull Mary's book out right now, but does she mention whose idea it was teaming the Supremes and JW in the first place? I don't recall.

  4. #4
    wow - i wonder if the forum has a character limit to posts lolol. i could write 1,000 pages about this album

    but i'll try to keep it brief

    Pros for the JW set
    1. a more mature subject matter - his songs tend to have a more mature sound and lyric than typical love songs. his lyrics are also more complex, using unique and intriguing imagery
    2. the early 70s were a hot time for these singer/songwriter collaborations - the trend was definitely there
    3. on many of the songs Jean's leads are subtle, intriguing. and she's being pushed here into much more aggressive singing. on Cheap Lovin' she tears it up! Frank and especially Smokey seemed to keep her studio vocals much more restrained. So at many points on the lp, jean is thrilling to listen to

    Cons
    1. the idiotic cover lol
    2. the choral effect of the added background singers
    3. a complete abandonment of recording a GROUP - there's no interplay with the vocals, trading of lines. this is strictly a Jean solo effort aside from mary's 1 lead
    4. the wretched vocals by Jean on Beyond Myself - the most painful vocals by the woman i've ever heard
    5. lack of really identifiable JW songs - ignoring I Guess I'll Miss The Man, 6 of the 10 tracks are Webb songs. but none of them were big songs that the general public knew. and he had so many wonderful songs. to now include 1 or 2 of these was a missed opportunity
    6. not releasing either Cheap Lovin or 5:30 as a single. motown simply abandoned this lp and did nothing for it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post

    IMO this album was dead from it's conception. Not wanting to pull Mary's book out right now, but does she mention whose idea it was teaming the Supremes and JW in the first place? I don't recall.
    Their then-current manager Wayne ??? (I think his last name was something like Weisbart).
    Last edited by reese; 11-08-2019 at 11:31 AM.

  6. #6
    Putting familiar Jimmy Webb songs on the album would have been confirmation the Supremes were dying - so I believe that's why it never happened. 530 Plane should have been the first single and drop IGIMTM which didn't fit at all. And the high pitched tenor of some of the songs was bad - they should have redid or dropped those songs.

    But it was the era of the singer songwriter and not the groups so that was a big plus. Maybe they should have had Jimmy Webb on the cover with the Supremes - but the dandelion seemed to spell unease or embarrassment with the group.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Their then-current manager Wayne ??? (I think his last name was something like Weisbart).
    That's right. It was the late Wayne Wiesbart who was their manager at the time. He is the one that Lynda went to with her "ideas" of increasing her importance within the group. Mary fired him!

  8. #8
    I always thought Motown albums were made better by including cover versions of well known songs, and I don't think this one would have been an exception. I still like the album, even though I can't stand "Miss the Man" (a totally downbeat, depressing song) and some of the too-amped up backgrounds. I also agree that "5:30 Plane" is an absolute stunner and "Beyond Myself" cringe-worthy.

    But lots of Motown artists did great interpretations of Jimmy Webb songs, including the 4 Tops (Mcarthur Park and others), Martha (Didn't We). I think his story telling style was suited well to the Motown Sound. I agree this album could have been improved with some of his better known tunes. Since then, I've realized several were well known such as "All I Want" but they were by artists I really didn't know such as Joni Mitchell, I believe.

    I think the cover choice was to make it look more like a rock album, perhaps, than immediately identified (and rejected) as a "Motown album." Though still not sure how that made the dandelion photo relevant! But I think the look, the dark background, the kind of obscured nature photo, might give the impression it was more of a "rock" than a "soul" album. Categories were pretty limited in those days in the record stores, much more so than now, at least considering the few record stores that still exist.

    Still an album worth listening to, I feel, though definitely not a "fan favorite!"

    PS

    There was a thread quite a while back where someone found a Connie Stevens (!) version of "5:30 Plane." As I recall, she handled the vocal well but the arrangement was pure Las Vegas. Hardly suited to a song like this which is all about regret and missed opportunities. Also in that thread, someone discovered that Connie had also recorded the original version of "Betcha By Golly Wow" (by another title, however) which was produced by the original songwriters (Thom Bell?), before the hit version by the Stylistics! That one came off better by Connie than "5:30" but the Stylistics' version was still far better, IMHO.
    Last edited by kenneth; 11-08-2019 at 04:28 PM.

  9. #9
    Here's Joni's original of "All I Want":


  10. #10
    Mary Wilson covers another one Joni Mitchell's song, "Both Sides Now" brilliantly in concert.

  11. #11
    @Marv, how do you feel about the Jimmy Webb album? I'm interested in your opinion.

  12. #12
    Despite its shortcomings, I like the Jimmy Webb album more than most people seem to. 5:30 Plane should have definitely been the lead single off the album. I would have cut "I Guess I'll Miss The Man" and "Beyond Myself" in favor of "MacArthur Park" and "The Girl's Song." Not giving Lynda her own lead on this album is perhaps the biggest missed opportunity. I would have loved to hear her do "Cheap Lovin'" The Blossoms and Jean singing in too high of a key are honestly secondary problems to me. And of course, the cover art is horrible.

  13. #13
    Only two songs I like...Silent Voices and When Can Brown Begin. I always thought Brown could be a single. To many voices seemed merky....dark..depressing....
    This line up had great harmony.it wasn't utilized here.
    530 plane .never cared for it but will have another listen. Just dreary album.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @Marv, how do you feel about the Jimmy Webb album? I'm interested in your opinion.
    I have to go back first to my initial impression. I was just in Jr. High and the music on this album did not appeal to me much at that time. Years later in the 90s, I gave it a good listening and found that I liked some of the songs even a lot. I liked the single "I Guess I'll Miss the Man", "I Keep It Hid", "Beyond Myself", "Once In the Morning" "5:30 Plane" and "When Can Brown Begin". Still this is not my favorite type of music, but the songs were well written. I did not like the way they had Jean singing on some of them or the additional backing vocalists. The album cover was not very striking to put it lightly. I have a sister who liked this album much,much more than I did.

  15. #15
    The first time I saw and heard this album my first reaction was what was everyone thinking ? Nor much has changed since then. Everything from Mary's Knit cap to WHOOOAAAA who is in the background was just goofy.

  16. #16
    The singer/songwriting thing was popular at the time for actual singer/songwriters. That was not the Supremes, so I fail to see how that factors into the pros for this direction. It was just a poor decision. I have to wonder if "Bad Weather" was affected at all by the preceding work. Is it at all possible that "Bad Weather" would've done better and then a subsequent Stevie produced set would've been completed and successful had it come after the Floy Joy stuff, and even "Miss the Man", without interruption from JW?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    The singer/songwriting thing was popular at the time for actual singer/songwriters. That was not the Supremes, so I fail to see how that factors into the pros for this direction. It was just a poor decision. I have to wonder if "Bad Weather" was affected at all by the preceding work. Is it at all possible that "Bad Weather" would've done better and then a subsequent Stevie produced set would've been completed and successful had it come after the Floy Joy stuff, and even "Miss the Man", without interruption from JW?
    Bad Weather would have performed much better if it had followed the Floy Joy album. An album by Stevie Wonder would have been​ much more what the Supremes needed to stay on top and current at this point.
    The Supremes could have tackled the singer/songwriter genre with songs by Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro. The Jimmy Webb album was a mess, except for 5:30 Plane, All I Want, Once in the Morning. I Guess I'll Miss the Man is my favorite, but it's not a Jimmy Webb song or production.

  18. #18
    Sorry guys produced by Jimmy Webb was a mess. The Supremes should have left Motown prior to this album being done. They were super talented at this time and looked good on TV and in person but Motown just didn't know what to do with them or did not take the time like it use to. I remember a song on this LP called "When Can Brown Begin". The background vocals was a bit too much but could have been a good ballad for Mary or Lynda. I love Jean but she went a bit overboard on the lead vocals and it made me take the LP to the attic.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I have to go back first to my initial impression. I was just in Jr. High and the music on this album did not appeal to me much at that time. Years later in the 90s, I gave it a good listening and found that I liked some of the songs even a lot. I liked the single "I Guess I'll Miss the Man", "I Keep It Hid", "Beyond Myself", "Once In the Morning" "5:30 Plane" and "When Can Brown Begin". Still this is not my favorite type of music, but the songs were well written. I did not like the way they had Jean singing on some of them or the additional backing vocalists. The album cover was not very striking to put it lightly. I have a sister who liked this album much,much more than I did.
    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Is "Floy Joy" your favorite 70s Supreme album? I remember reading in Mary's book it was her favorite because all the three girls' voices were utilized without so much added backgrounds as the later "Jimmy Webb" album.

    I agree about the cover. It made it look like a budget album, I think.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Is "Floy Joy" your favorite 70s Supreme album? I remember reading in Mary's book it was her favorite because all the three girls' voices were utilized without so much added backgrounds as the later "Jimmy Webb" album.

    I agree about the cover. It made it look like a budget album, I think.
    the andantes are heavily used on Floy Joy lp. i've tried to listen to hear between the vocals of M and C vs A's. Like on Sunshine and FJ, is the more complex harmonies ONLY the Andantes? or all of them?

    sort of have wondered if M and C sort of came in to do some basic vocals and then the complex work was handled by the Andantes.

  21. #21
    We do tend to address the Jimmy Webb album quite frequently which is ok with me because I am always interested in learning something new and in exploring new perspectives.

    This album is my favorite of the 70s lineup. Mr. Webb's prolific songwriting skills are evident in these selections which, to me, were not familiar at the time. The arrangements, however, were somewhat too 'extra background voices' oriented and would have been better suited for an established solo act which Jean Terrell was not at the time. Jean Terrell, by the way, demonstrated that she was quite the vocalist and stylist and with the proper backing, could have evolved into a major solo star (but that's another story).

    '5:30 Plane' is probably my favorite from the album and it would have been interesting to see what impact it would have made had it been released as a single and promoted properly. Regarding the odd album cover, I thought it was rather eclectic and a great conversation starter for its time.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    Sorry guys produced by Jimmy Webb was a mess. The Supremes should have left Motown prior to this album being done. They were super talented at this time and looked good on TV and in person but Motown just didn't know what to do with them or did not take the time like it use to. I remember a song on this LP called "When Can Brown Begin". The background vocals was a bit too much but could have been a good ballad for Mary or Lynda. I love Jean but she went a bit overboard on the lead vocals and it made me take the LP to the attic.
    "When Can Brown Begin" reminds me of another maudlin song, "Ebony and Ivory." I thought some of the lyrics in "Brown" like the line about salt and pepper were just abysmal. Still, Jean delivered the lyric well, and with feeling, whereas to me often she seemed a bit disconnected from what she was singing.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

    Is "Floy Joy" your favorite 70s Supreme album? I remember reading in Mary's book it was her favorite because all the three girls' voices were utilized without so much added backgrounds as the later "Jimmy Webb" album.

    I agree about the cover. It made it look like a budget album, I think.
    "High Energy" was my favorite from the 70s. "Floy Joy" was a favorite in general, including the albums released in the 60s.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    the andantes are heavily used on Floy Joy lp. i've tried to listen to hear between the vocals of M and C vs A's. Like on Sunshine and FJ, is the more complex harmonies ONLY the Andantes? or all of them?

    sort of have wondered if M and C sort of came in to do some basic vocals and then the complex work was handled by the Andantes.
    Nah. The only reason Smokey punched in the Andantes in some places on that album is because the Supremes were doing all of the important vocals. For instance, on "You're Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love" you hear Mary over and above all of the backing vocals just like on "Where Did Our Love Go?"

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    Bad Weather would have performed much better if it had followed the Floy Joy album. An album by Stevie Wonder would have been​ much more what the Supremes needed to stay on top and current at this point.
    The Supremes could have tackled the singer/songwriter genre with songs by Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro. The Jimmy Webb album was a mess, except for 5:30 Plane, All I Want, Once in the Morning. I Guess I'll Miss the Man is my favorite, but it's not a Jimmy Webb song or production.
    I can agree with that. The Stevie produced album should have been the follow to "Floy Joy". Then they should have taken off until the second half of 1974 and release a Jimmy Webb produced album with some different songs than what ended up on the 1972 album.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    "High Energy" was my favorite from the 70s. "Floy Joy" was a favorite in general, including the albums released in the 60s.
    The album "High Energy" is also my absolute favorite - of any Supremes lineup. I love that album. I hate to sound like a cliche, but I do think if the title track had been promoted more, it would have been a huge hit. I still think it a beautiful piece of music. And of course, I love "Mary's side" of the album as well.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    The album "High Energy" is also my absolute favorite - of any Supremes lineup. I love that album. I hate to sound like a cliche, but I do think if the title track had been promoted more, it would have been a huge hit. I still think it a beautiful piece of music. And of course, I love "Mary's side" of the album as well.
    The song "High Energy" was "Quiet Storm" material before the format became popular in the late 80s, 90s and beyond!

  28. #28
    i really enjoy HE too - both the song and lp

    but am i the only one that find the background sounds shockingly FLAT on HE? they are not in tune which is so perplexing!!

  29. #29
    and in regards to HE song, i think i might prefer the unreleased Susaye vocal slightly more than the released. both are stellar but i think she does a bit more with the unreleased one.

    I too think it could have been a hit but i think they needed something to build off the momentum Walking was having. Let Yourself Go should have been next. from a sound and style perspective, it would be like Baby Love following Where Did Our Love Go

    HE was such a different sound

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    "When Can Brown Begin" reminds me of another maudlin song, "Ebony and Ivory." I thought some of the lyrics in "Brown" like the line about salt and pepper were just abysmal. Still, Jean delivered the lyric well, and with feeling, whereas to me often she seemed a bit disconnected from what she was singing.
    True everything about the album stank but it was the only song that had any meaning. The problem was that Jean did too many riffs.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    The first time I saw and heard this album my first reaction was what was everyone thinking ? Nor much has changed since then. Everything from Mary's Knit cap to WHOOOAAAA who is in the background was just goofy.
    Did you like the Styrofoam cups? I thought wtf.

  32. #32
    Maybe they figured "Hey, we did a high glamour image on the last LP" (FLOY JOY)….. complete with tasteful cocktail glasses...that really was a beautiful cover. Perhaps could have used a bit more contrast with the white on white, but they looked stunning and it was chic, mature and tasteful w/o glitz ....They had plenty of room for more images on the rear jacket panel.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    and in regards to HE song, i think i might prefer the unreleased Susaye vocal slightly more than the released. both are stellar but i think she does a bit more with the unreleased one.

    I too think it could have been a hit but i think they needed something to build off the momentum Walking was having. Let Yourself Go should have been next. from a sound and style perspective, it would be like Baby Love following Where Did Our Love Go

    HE was such a different sound
    HE is my fav Sups song.I need to scour the net for the unreleased version.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    The album "High Energy" is also my absolute favorite - of any Supremes lineup. I love that album. I hate to sound like a cliche, but I do think if the title track had been promoted more, it would have been a huge hit. I still think it a beautiful piece of music. And of course, I love "Mary's side" of the album as well.
    Completely agree.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Did you like the Styrofoam cups? I thought wtf.
    NO and I hated Mary's wool home made hat. To tell you the truth I thought they were stoned.

  36. #36
    Just can't get into the Webb album.it sounds dreary. I've tried...even the cover is depressing.
    In regards to HE....I like most tracks but the lifeless MW tracks on side 2.
    The original mixs are better I feel and Gonna Let My Heart was a tremendous return to form.
    don't let my teardrops bother you was good for Mary

  37. #37
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    The music of 530 plane is vey foreboding and dreary. Jeans voice is too high pitched and nasally. But, the chorus is great. It shines when the chorus sings.

  38. #38
    This is one of those projects where they should have experimented with one or two Jimmy Webb song(s) and had multiple writers and producers. The Supremes were at the point of finding a direction and clearly this stank.

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