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  1. #1

    MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS - I Promise to Wait My Love 1968

    The Funk Brothers are really kicking up some dust on this one!

    Last edited by marv2; 12-05-2019 at 08:27 PM.

  2. #2
    This is an OK song but if there was ever a time when the B side (Forget Me Not) should have been the A side, this was it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by daviddesper View Post
    This is an OK song but if there was ever a time when the B side (Forget Me Not) should have been the A side, this was it.
    "Forget Me Not" did get radio airplay in Philly. They did the same there with "Third Finger, Left Hand".

  4. #4
    “Forget Me Not” spent three weeks on Billboard’s Pop chart, peaking at #93.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    “Forget Me Not” spent three weeks on Billboard’s Pop chart, peaking at #93.
    I didn't know that. Thanks, Mowest

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I didn't know that. Thanks, Mowest
    Of course, marv2. In addition it went to #11 in England!

  7. #7
    I loved this song! there are some great cuts for MR&V after you take away the bigger hits....I love You've Been In Love Too Long, Motoring, Dancing Slow AND I'll Have To Let Him Go

  8. #8
    I am sure "Forget Me Not" WAS the intended A side, I think it did do well in the UK. I heard "Forget Me Not" on the Soul radio stations first.When I purchased the 45, the record shop "Forget Me Not" as the A side.

  9. #9
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    I could never enjoy Martha’s voice on this song. It is very high and shrill. There was no honey in this vocal. Actually, Martha’s voice often lacked the honey quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    The Funk Brothers are really kicking up some dust on this one!


  10. #10
    Of course, the B-side of Forget Me Not in the UK was I Gotta Let You Go. To my mind at the time I was astonished that Motown issued Forget Me Not as the follow-up to the re-release of Jimmy Mack, and of course the huge Dancing in the Street in 1969. Nice enough track, but why not a really new recording? I had to eat my words when it peaked at No 11 on the UK charts! The single version of Forget Me Not does not have the spoken section in the middle, yet every singles collection that includes that track does. I am wondering whether when it was issued in the States as the B-side of I Promise To Wait My Love the spoken section was there or not? I love "Promise" but agree that the recorded sound is rather dry. As with a number of tracks on Ridin' High. But it's really funky and I Martha does a great job.
    Last edited by Sharpmoves; 12-06-2019 at 08:56 AM. Reason: duplication of a phrase

  11. "I Promise To Wait My Love" is one of those songs that I really WANT to like but just can't. When you listen to it, it has a lot going for it to be sure, but when I first heard it on the purple Anthology album, it just sounded like such a far cry from the classic Motown Sound that I wanted to hear on everything. My first thought was that the song was an Aretha Franklin copy and the tempo was in a big hurry to go nowhere.

    "Forget Me Not" was at first a "meh" song for me. Then, I took a good listen to it one day and it just hit in such an emotional way that I couldn't stop listening to it.

  12. #12
    I loved this when I first heard it although this particular 'take' sounds quite different from my memory back in the 60s. It reminded me so much of Aretha Franklin's output around the same time.

  13. #13
    YES, the US 45 of "Forget Me Not" has the spoken part by Martha in the song.

  14. #14
    Forget me Not is a solid song too. def a fav of mine.

    Promise is another one i do like. this "country soul" sound seemed to fit them well. I did a playlist of possible Country Soul lp for them that combined the country soul and a touch of psychedelic soul

    Honey Chile
    Sweet Darlin
    I tried
    We've Got Honey love
    I'm in love
    forget me not
    I promise to wait
    without you
    I'm glad you belong to me
    love bug leave my heart alone
    A little bit of heaven
    i can't dance

    later 60s are a challenging time for me and MRATV. i agree that often Martha was a bit shrill. or actually maybe warbly. her vibrato seemed to get out of control a lot.

    one song i'm AMAZED that it never was released was A Little Bit of Heaven from the L&F set.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    Of course, marv2. In addition it went to #11 in England!
    It went to #11 in the UK! England is just a part of it.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Forget me Not is a solid song too. def a fav of mine.

    Promise is another one i do like. this "country soul" sound seemed to fit them well. I did a playlist of possible Country Soul lp for them that combined the country soul and a touch of psychedelic soul

    Honey Chile
    Sweet Darlin
    I tried
    We've Got Honey love
    I'm in love
    forget me not
    I promise to wait
    without you
    I'm glad you belong to me
    love bug leave my heart alone
    A little bit of heaven
    i can't dance

    later 60s are a challenging time for me and MRATV. i agree that often Martha was a bit shrill. or actually maybe warbly. her vibrato seemed to get out of control a lot.

    one song i'm AMAZED that it never was released was A Little Bit of Heaven from the L&F set.
    Thanks for this train of thought and list. They definitely went through their "country soul" period.

  17. #17
    To me, the mono/airplay mix on the 45 was superior to the stereo version on the LP and later reissues, and was actually an entirely different vocal take. To me, this sort of thing was true of so many of the mono versus stereo versions of scores of Hitsville songs.

  18. #18
    I agree,BigAl, the 45's had more "guts" to my ears and that was true of most records in the 60's, not just Motown.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
    To me, the mono/airplay mix on the 45 was superior to the stereo version on the LP and later reissues, and was actually an entirely different vocal take. To me, this sort of thing was true of so many of the mono versus stereo versions of scores of Hitsville songs.
    didn't realize that. I think in my playlist i'm using the lp version but also have the 50th Anniv Singles set. will give each a spin. love learning of these types of differences and comparing

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by daviddesper View Post
    Thanks for this train of thought and list. They definitely went through their "country soul" period.
    i know Martha was having issues by 68 and 69. and frankly almost all of the motown groups were still dealing with the hodge podge approach to their albums. But in looking at much of the material around the Riding High period, seems like they could have tightened up the album a bit. seems like two themes emerged - the country soul and then the "sort of psychedelic" sounds of Without You. at least there's a bit of cohesion

    The next two albums seem to be a bit cluttered too. Perhaps Sugar n Spice could have had a harder soul focus. Natural Resources has a little bit of "peace and love" theme but also could have been helped with some more tunes

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by copley View Post
    It went to #11 in the UK! England is just a part of it.
    Of course you’re right copley. I stand corrected!

  22. #22
    Not if ms. Sturgeon has her way

  23. #23
    While "I Promise To Wait My Love" has great performances by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas & The Funk Bros., I feel the same way that other posters on this thread feel; "Forget Me Not" should've been the A-side of this release. I think it would've been timely since more & more young men were being sent off to fight in Vietnam in 1968 and "Forget Me Not" perfectly captures the feelings of the loved ones being left behind.

  24. #24
    I'd listened to this one a couple of times before but revisiting it now I'm enjoying it quite a lot! Not sure how to describe it... not quite the classic Motown sound... definitely a bit funky... with a country vibe...

  25. #25
    I always thought this was a great follow up to Hiney Chile. Had the same country/soul sound going for it. I think Martha and the girls were going through a tough transition during this period and never would really recover until the Black Magic sessions. Unfortunately by then it was too late.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    I always thought this was a great follow up to Hiney Chile. Had the same country/soul sound going for it. I think Martha and the girls were going through a tough transition during this period and never would really recover until the Black Magic sessions. Unfortunately by then it was too late.
    I think you're right. This would have been Martha with Roz and Lois.

  27. #27
    I have to look up who produced this one for Martha and the Vandellas, but they have them singing in a similar style as Gladys Knight and the Pips.

  28. #28
    COUNTRY??? I'm not hearing country at all on this one....if anything its got a more Stax sound than Detroit....and that sounds like Jr. Walker blowing the sax part to me.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I'd listened to this one a couple of times before but revisiting it now I'm enjoying it quite a lot! Not sure how to describe it... not quite the classic Motown sound... definitely a bit funky... with a country vibe...
    Because it wasn't quite the classic Motown sound, I remember Tony Blackburn not being too keen on it at the time.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I have to look up who produced this one for Martha and the Vandellas, but they have them singing in a similar style as Gladys Knight and the Pips.
    Ten years later, lol: It was Henry Cosby and Billie Jean Brown producing. But this one is from the works of George Gordy. Martha recorded several songs with Richard Morris (the "country" tracks, "Honey Chile" and "I Tried", plus "Sweet Darling", "We've Got Honey Love" and one of my favorites of the group, "Show Me the Way to Your Heart"), but she was often also produced by George Gordy (and Allen Story), who gave them tracks I like very much as "In and Out of My Life", "Hope I Don't Get My Heart Broke" (the Vandellas version is much better than Marvin Gaye's), "Taking My Love (and Leaving Me)"... "I Promise..." belongs to this group of George Gordy's contributions. They are different. I find them more adult, and with an elegant touch, I do not know if it is the hand of arranger Paul Riser. Perhaps not too much hit material, but very good anyways.

  31. #31
    Did Rosalind Ashford and Lois Reeves do any of the backing vocals in that timeline, in the Richard Morris' productions for example? Those vocals can hardly be heard, especially in "Honey Chile", "I Tried" and "Sweet Darlin'"..

  32. #32
    It’s Roz, Lois and the Andantes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Did Rosalind Ashford and Lois Reeves do any of the backing vocals in that timeline, in the Richard Morris' productions for example? Those vocals can hardly be heard, especially in "Honey Chile", "I Tried" and "Sweet Darlin'"..

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    "I Promise To Wait My Love" is one of those songs that I really WANT to like but just can't. When you listen to it, it has a lot going for it to be sure, but when I first heard it on the purple Anthology album, it just sounded like such a far cry from the classic Motown Sound that I wanted to hear on everything. My first thought was that the song was an Aretha Franklin copy and the tempo was in a big hurry to go nowhere.

    "Forget Me Not" was at first a "meh" song for me. Then, I took a good listen to it one day and it just hit in such an emotional way that I couldn't stop listening to it.
    I think what is so appealing about "Forget Me Not" is that it shows Martha's softer side, and that she knew how to vocalize and be effective on ballads, something she didn't get a lot of credit for generally.

    I think this is also why on so many other tunes that weren't necessarily big hits, Martha still shows what an adept singer she was. Songs like "You've Been in Love Too Long," "Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things," "Go Ahead and Laugh," showed just how versatile she really was.

    I never thought "I Promise to Wait" evoked Aretha, but thinking about it, yes I agree. It does definitely have a vocal that sounds like Franklin, especially just the opening line which kind of reminds me (now that I've thought of it) of the opening to Aretha's "Think" or "The House That Jack Built."

  34. Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I think what is so appealing about "Forget Me Not" is that it shows Martha's softer side, and that she knew how to vocalize and be effective on ballads, something she didn't get a lot of credit for generally.

    I think this is also why on so many other tunes that weren't necessarily big hits, Martha still shows what an adept singer she was. Songs like "You've Been in Love Too Long," "Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things," "Go Ahead and Laugh," showed just how versatile she really was.

    I never thought "I Promise to Wait" evoked Aretha, but thinking about it, yes I agree. It does definitely have a vocal that sounds like Franklin, especially just the opening line which kind of reminds me (now that I've thought of it) of the opening to Aretha's "Think" or "The House That Jack Built."
    I remember thinking that Stax was hitting big around this time and maybe Motown felt this song would ride that wave to Soulsville U.S.A. It was the guitar work that really made me link it to an Aretha-type song; much more in that Southern Soul groove than a Detroit grove. Even though I couldn't warm up to "I Promise To Wait", I thought it was a very shrewd move. Since Aretha in particular and Stax in general were the big things going, why not try to slot a Motown number in that vein.

    At Motown, Martha, to me, was the one who could give you that "Soul Sister" vibe better than anyone else and so why not try a new sound with her?

    For sure, Martha was much more versatile than the general public would know. When I linked "Forget Me Not" to the Vietnam war and what it must have been like for family, wives and girlfriends not knowing when or even IF someone would make it back in one piece, then I appreciated that song and Martha's performance on it so much more than I ever had when I was younger. Martha could move you and I like those songs you listed. It's actually hard for me to listen to "You've Been In Love Too Long" because there really is a sadness that comes out when she sings the title line. The song packs an unexpected punch.

    "Go Ahead And Laugh" is really a tour de force if you think about it. Martha skillfully knows when to reign in her voice, then go big with anger, confusion, sadness all rolled into one gigantic ball of fury. Whatever sadness she started out with becomes vitriolic acid at the end, when sings "baby, baby one day you've GOT to PAY" (Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!) then check out how she holds that last note all the way through the rest of 1966 and well into 1967.
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 08-08-2020 at 11:14 PM.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    Of course, marv2. In addition it went to #11 in England!
    As "Forget Me Not" didn't hit the British charts until 1971, I reckon UK Motown missed a trick by not issuing the similarly themed "I Should Be Proud" as the follow up.

  36. #36
    Good point but Forget Me Not was a MUCH better song.........

  37. #37
    I never paid Promise...no real attention, but with headphones on, this track is smokin’!

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