[REMOVE ADS]




Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    948
    Rep Power
    157

    The Supremes Sing Country, Western, and Pop

    Last night, as I was driving home I was listening to this album. I continue to be amazed at how well, in my opinion, it was produced by Clarence Paul who also wrote many of the songs. From some research, I read that Stevie Wonder wrote or either co-wrote 2 of the songs which was supposedly the first time any act other than himself recorded one of his songs. I always thought the tracks were recorded 1962-early 1964; however, Wikipedia led me to believe some were recorded in 1965, the same year it was released.

    My question is: Why was this album produced in the first place? Was Motown at a point where it could financially afford to produce an album on a relatively unknown act such as the Supremes at that time?

    OR: Were these tracks, among the many other tracks that had been recorded ,compiled as an afterthought, after the Supremes' success, and then released to show the Supremes versatility.

    My take is that in 1962-63, producers were experimenting with a sound that would connect with an audience and the c&w idea came up. Even "My Heart Can't Take It No More" was released as a single...now that's country.

    Berry Gordy must have seen a lot of potential in the Supremes for all of that effort and recordings to have been made. Mary and Florence's background vocals are wonderful [[when not overwhelmed by the added Andantes), and Diana's vocal evolvement is evident with almost a different timbre in each song.

    I really enjoy the album. My favorites are "Funny How Time Flies Away", "Tears in Vain" and "Baby Doll" I am surprised that was not chosen as a single...maybe this was recorded after their success with HDH?
    Last edited by jobucats; 10-14-2021 at 10:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    3,693
    Rep Power
    183
    I love the album too, and in its original stereo mix it is a stunning experience to hear. I believe as with many projects some of the songs were written specifically for the album and others came from various sources or other potential album projects. I believe the impetus behind doing the album itself came from the fact that Ray Charles had a very successful album of country and western music and other people started to pick up on the trend. In addition, although I’m not sure it was prior to the Supremes album, King Records in Cincinnati had often recorded artists doing crossover material. Singers like James Brown, little Willie John, Hank Ballard and others often recorded country songs as part of their albums. King records also heavily marketed the albums this way in the album covers and titles as well.


    I like all the Supremes concept albums but I think this one is the best recorded and the most gratifying listen. It doesn’t sound like it was rush recorded, like the Liverpool album. I think the Sam Cooke album comes very close to the country album in terms of being well recorded and a great listen, but I still tend to play the country album more than the Sam Cooke album for whatever reason.


    Thanks for bringing up this topic.
    Last edited by kenneth; 10-14-2021 at 01:52 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    948
    Rep Power
    157
    [QUOTE=kenneth;663693] I believe as with many projects some of the songs were written specifically for the album and others came from various sources or other potential album projects.... I believe the impetus behind doing the album itself came from the fact that Ray Charles had a very successful album of country and western music and other people started to pick up on the trend.

    I do recall that other artists were doing these special concept albums like the country and western album; however, as you suggested the concept of a C&W flavored album was not in the minds of the Motown people in 1962-63 for an unknown group like the Supremes. Still, it is mind boggling to me that time and finances were put towards the production of any of these songs in 1962-63 for the no hits Supremes.

    By the way, do we know what band was used for the majority of the tracks? Surely, this would be a stretch for the Funk Brothers Was the majority of the tracks even recorded at Hitsville?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    2,615
    Rep Power
    151
    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    Last night, as I was driving home I was listening to this album. I continue to be amazed at how well, in my opinion, it was produced by Clarence Paul who also wrote many of the songs. From some research, I read that Stevie Wonder wrote or either co-wrote 2 of the songs which was supposedly the first time any act other than himself recorded one of his songs. I always thought the tracks were recorded 1962-early 1964; however, Wikipedia led me to believe some were recorded in 1965, the same year it was released.

    My question is: Why was this album produced in the first place? Was Motown at a point where it could financially afford to produce an album on a relatively unknown act such as the Supremes at that time?

    OR: Were these tracks, among the many other tracks that had been recorded ,compiled as an afterthought, after the Supremes' success, and then released to show the Supremes versatility.

    My take is that in 1962-63, producers were experimenting with a sound that would connect with an audience and the c&w idea came up. Even "My Heart Can't Take It No More" was released as a single...now that's country.

    Berry Gordy must have seen a lot of potential in the Supremes for all of that effort and recordings to have been made. Mary and Florence's background vocals are wonderful [[when not overwhelmed by the added Andantes), and Diana's vocal evolvement is evident with almost a different timbre in each song.

    I really enjoy the album. My favorites are "Funny How Time Flies Away", "Tears in Vain" and "Baby Doll" I am surprised that was not chosen as a single...maybe this was recorded after their success with HDH?
    good post!!

    Don't know the album and was hoping but unable to find it in its entirety on youtube so I could also listen while driving.

    Likely Motown was trying to figure out ways to sell albums instead of singles as was the growing trend. Themed LPs was a good trick.

    Also since The Supremes had not yet developed a certain sound when much of it was recorded ....perhaps this was an exploration to try to find one ....why not !!

    When the Pointers were more at an experimental stage of their career, I loved loved loved their


    perfection !

    wiki:
    Bonnie Pointer would play down the idea of a C&W hit by the Pointer Sisters being a novelty: "People think because we're always trying something different we're not sincere. Like country music. For us, it's no joke...Our folks came from Arkansas and we grew up singing country songs. It's part of us."[3]
    I doubt The Supremes had an honest leaning toward this style, so lucky for all, nothing much came of this concept. Hard to imagine really! lol!



    FUNNY is a great song. Good choice. I bet this influenced Al Green more than any other [?]:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    6,394
    Rep Power
    141
    I believe the tracks on the album were all recorded in 1963, or maybe late 1962. The Supremes' original vocals were recorded in 1963 and shelved. After they had scored two #1s and a hit album, the girls went back into the studio to re-record their vocals, which is what ended up on the original album.

    My suspicion is that some of the more country flavored tracks, like "My Heart" and "Funny" were recorded for a possible country album. I think at this point Gordy and company were willing to experiment with unproven hitmakers. We do know that at some point the Supremes were to release an album called Supremes Sing Ballads and Blues. I suspect that songs like "Sunset" and "You Need Me" were recorded for this. Because the C&W sound that Motown was experimenting with has some blues elements to it, it's hard to tell exactly which songs may have been intended for the other project. My gut tells me that the initial experiment was considered a failure [[probably when "My Heart Can't Take It No More" went nowhere outside of, apparently, Pittsburgh) and it was at that point that the group was moved on to the Ballads and Blues project, which I also suspect "A Breathtaking Guy" would have probably made it onto. For whatever reason, this project too would be canned.

    Fast forward to the Supremes as hitmakers. Gordy had the ladies in the studio for the Liverpool and C&W albums before they even made it onto the Sullivan show. I don't know if he truly believed that the Supremes were going to be the phenomenon that they would eventually become, but he surely had good sense to capitalize off their early popularity, and the Liverpool, C&W and Sam Cooke albums did just that. I assume the C&W project was resurrected to cash in on this latest cash cow of Motown.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    6,394
    Rep Power
    141
    As for my opinion on the C&W album, it is one of my absolute favorite Supremes albums ever. I'm a fan of country music and so the Supremes, my favorite group in the world, being paired with it is right up my alley. On top of that, vocally the ladies nailed every song, harmony wise. Some of Diana's leads are IMO a bit on the weaker side- yes, I think Flo and Mary might have handled some of these a bit better- but she also had some strong moments, "Funny" being one of my favorites. Flo and Mary are fantastic, as usual. Yes, the Andantes are present on the album, but they don't take away from Flo and Mary's performances, which thankfully the Andantes don't outright replace them.

    Of the specialty albums, I'm not sure if I can make up my mind about which one I love more, the C&W album or the Sam Cooke album. Both display what I love most about the Supremes, their great vocals. The downside to the C&W set is, as I said, I would rather a couple of songs had Flo or Mary on lead instead of Diana. The downside to the Sam Cooke set is that the album suffers from the "lackluster" sound of the LA musicians. Had the Sam Cooke album been recorded in Detroit with the Funks, that album would have been fire.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    3,693
    Rep Power
    183
    I believe that "Funny How Time Slips Away" is a Willie Nelson composition, from before he became famous as a performer. He wrote many songs, in fact one of his early albums is titled "And Then I Wrote..." A multi-talented man.

    Many people recorded "Funny" but I think the Supremes' version is right up there with the best of them.
    Last edited by kenneth; 10-14-2021 at 11:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    7,604
    Rep Power
    231
    In addition to all of the great facts above, it doesn't hurt to mention that Motown also produced a country-influenced album on Ralph Sharon, which was released on the Gordy label in 1963. Its title MODERN INNOVATIONS ON COUNTRY AND WESTERN THEMES is a direct rip-off of Ray Charles' MODERN SOUNDS IN COUNTRY AND WESTERN MUSIC. I gather with the success of Ray's album as well as hits like Solomon Burke's JUST OUT OF REACH and Esther Phillips' RELEASE ME, Motown was willing to hop on any popular bandwagon if it sold some records.

    Of the Supremes' specialty albums, CW&P is probably the one I play the least. But I do like FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY, IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE NOW, LAZY BONES, BABY DOLL, and SUNSET.
    Last edited by reese; 10-14-2021 at 02:15 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    5,992
    Rep Power
    202
    we know that My Heart was recorded in 62. and then Makes No Difference, Lazy Bones, Funny How Time and Banjo Man were all in early 63.

    Don't Forget The Motown City lists You Didn't Care, Tears In Vain as 63

    Sunset and You Need Me were Nov 64. Baby Doll was Dec 64

    I was going to guess that Tumbleweeds was also 63 but DFTMC says the track was completed late Dec 64.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    7,604
    Rep Power
    231
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    we know that My Heart was recorded in 62. and then Makes No Difference, Lazy Bones, Funny How Time and Banjo Man were all in early 63.

    Don't Forget The Motown City lists You Didn't Care, Tears In Vain as 63

    Sunset and You Need Me were Nov 64. Baby Doll was Dec 64

    I was going to guess that Tumbleweeds was also 63 but DFTMC says the track was completed late Dec 64.
    In one of the Diana books, the album's producer Clarence Paul related how the girls called him in the middle of the night to sing LAZY BONES in perfect harmony. Then they started giggling afterwards like the teens they were.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    6,394
    Rep Power
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    we know that My Heart was recorded in 62. and then Makes No Difference, Lazy Bones, Funny How Time and Banjo Man were all in early 63.

    Don't Forget The Motown City lists You Didn't Care, Tears In Vain as 63

    Sunset and You Need Me were Nov 64. Baby Doll was Dec 64

    I was going to guess that Tumbleweeds was also 63 but DFTMC says the track was completed late Dec 64.
    The track [[and vocals) for "My Heart" was recorded in 1962. The other tracks may have also been cut that year, but we know the vocals were recorded in 1963. Everything that made it onto the Supremes Sing Country Western and Pop were re-recorded vocals over the original 1963 tracks. According to George [[or was it Andy?) even "Sunset", "You Need Me" and "Baby Doll" have 1963 vocals that have not yet been released. When DFTMC says "completed", that can either be additional instrumentation or vocals. In the C&W case, it might also mean that's when the Andantes were added.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    12
    Rep Power
    26
    I love this album. "Baby Doll" was a single outside the US and is a great song. Too bad there were no Patsy Cline covers on this one. Flo singing "Cray" or "I Fall To Pieces" would have been classic. It also would have enhanced their club act. Mary could Have done a fine job on "You Don't Know Me". Hattie Littles did a fine job on this country song [[another possibility for Flo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0z06_gWvfE

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    3,034
    Rep Power
    129
    I, too, love the "Country, Western & Pop" album. The girls' 3-part harmonies are exceptional. My fave tracks are "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Baby Doll". Also "Lazy Bones", "You Didn't Care", and "It Makes No Difference Now".
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 10-19-2021 at 01:34 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    948
    Rep Power
    157
    Quote Originally Posted by JimEMack View Post
    I love this album. "Baby Doll" was a single outside the US and is a great song. Too bad there were no Patsy Cline covers on this one. Flo singing "Cray" or "I Fall To Pieces" would have been classic. It also would have enhanced their club act. Mary could Have done a fine job on "You Don't Know Me". Hattie Littles did a fine job on this country song [[another possibility for Flo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0z06_gWvfE
    Yes, Florence on some of those Patsy Cline tunes would have worked! Great idea.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    890
    Rep Power
    53
    Quote Originally Posted by JimEMack View Post
    I love this album. "Baby Doll" was a single outside the US and is a great song. Too bad there were no Patsy Cline covers on this one. Flo singing "Cray" or "I Fall To Pieces" would have been classic. It also would have enhanced their club act. Mary could Have done a fine job on "You Don't Know Me". Hattie Littles did a fine job on this country song [[another possibility for Flo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0z06_gWvfE
    I listen to tracks from CW&P more than tracks from Bit of Liverpool and We Remember Sam Cooke. I love the lead vocals on Funny How time Slips Away, It Makes No Difference Now, Baby Doll and Sunset. I love the harmonies on Lazy Bones, You Need Me and Baby Doll. I really feel like I'm listening to The Supremes, though I now know the Andantes had been added to the mix.

    I didn't know Baby Doll was ever a single. When I first listened to the album I thought Baby Doll was a possible single but in 1964-1967 HDH created and crafted all the classic and iconic singles we know and love.
    Last edited by lucky2012; 10-19-2021 at 01:22 PM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    890
    Rep Power
    53
    Quote Originally Posted by JimEMack View Post
    I love this album. "Baby Doll" was a single outside the US and is a great song. Too bad there were no Patsy Cline covers on this one. Flo singing "Cray" or "I Fall To Pieces" would have been classic. It also would have enhanced their club act. Mary could Have done a fine job on "You Don't Know Me". Hattie Littles did a fine job on this country song [[another possibility for Flo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0z06_gWvfE
    Yes! Florence on Crazy and I Fall To Pieces and Mary on You Don't Know Me would have been excellent for the album, instead of My Heart Can't Take It No More [[can't stand this song!), Tears In Vain and Tumbling Tumbleweeds [[pure Hollywood country hokum, imo).
    I would keep You Didn't Care and Rock'n'Roll Banjo Band [[though it seems many here hate it).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    6,394
    Rep Power
    141
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    Yes! Florence on Crazy and I Fall To Pieces and Mary on You Don't Know Me would have been excellent for the album, instead of My Heart Can't Take It No More [[can't stand this song!), Tears In Vain and Tumbling Tumbleweeds [[pure Hollywood country hokum, imo).
    I would keep You Didn't Care and Rock'n'Roll Banjo Band [[though it seems many here hate it).
    Lucky I love "Banjo Band". The song is a silly little ditty, but the girls sound great.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    5,992
    Rep Power
    202
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    Yes! Florence on Crazy and I Fall To Pieces and Mary on You Don't Know Me would have been excellent for the album, instead of My Heart Can't Take It No More [[can't stand this song!), Tears In Vain and Tumbling Tumbleweeds [[pure Hollywood country hokum, imo).
    I would keep You Didn't Care and Rock'n'Roll Banjo Band [[though it seems many here hate it).
    that's a wonderful idea! also for the girls to acknowledge some of the women in country music too. would have been a nice touch for the lp

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,497
    Rep Power
    162
    Loved this album.only Sing Rogers and Hart bests it.
    Great vocals

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

[REMOVE ADS]

Ralph Terrana
MODERATOR

Welcome to Soulful Detroit! Kindly Consider Turning Off Your Ad BlockingX
Soulful Detroit is a free service that relies on revenue from ad display [regrettably] and donations. We notice that you are using an ad-blocking program that prevents us from earning revenue during your visit.
Ads are REMOVED for Members who donate to Soulful Detroit. [You must be logged in for ads to disappear]
DONATE HERE »
And have Ads removed.