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  1. #1
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    Covers of Motown Classics: What’s your favourite ‘Ooo Baby Baby’?

    With so many decades of Motown, Motownish and non-Motown covers of classic Motown compositions - what’s your favourite recorded or live version of the Smokey and Pete Moore classic?

    ‘Ooo Baby Baby’

    Close to the original group, I think Sydney Justin with Miracles Bobby and Claudette both kept true to the original and made his own mark all at the same tme… and he went in with the high notes!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNedWuV8UFw

    And Teena Marie smashed it when she serenaded Smokey straight from the heart

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTTYfoOhVEk

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    Absolutely hate that Teena Marie version. out of tune [[in several places) and totally oversung - a prime example of how to ruin a beautiful song. Put me off Teena Marie for life sadly.

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    Lol oh dear. That's the problem with redoing a song that is already perfect and an artist putting their slant on it.
    I don't think anyone has topped the original but there are some intersting versions - most stay close to the original.

    To me it looked like she was trying to get her love for Smokey out. I hear you though, maybe trying too hard. Less is more sometimes. What do you think of this vocal-gymnastics acoustic version by Lina?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgLysIXZDcQ

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    That version is better than TMs, and they at least sound good, but you're right it's hard to better the original [[listening to Donnie Elbert, for example and even Brenda Holloway confirms that).

  5. #5
    I prefer Linda Ronstadt's version to the original.


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    Claudette herself recorded a straight, sweet and very heartfelt version on Motorcity in the early 90s.

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    You're right mysterysinger.. I think I may have started with a song whose benchmark is too high! I agree with the Brenda Holloway version with the backing track which was resused for Blinky's solo version and the duet with Edwin Starr. I think theie duet is the best Motown cover.

    Both Claudette Robinson and The Temptations both did post-2000's versions but they are too musically electronic for the beauty of the song.

    I do like the Linda Rondstadt version but for me the sax solos all over it take away from the subtleness of her voice. For me, if it's gonna be a sax version then Gary Bartz with Syreeta on vocals is the one

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kkDfca2cxY&t=89s
    Last edited by PauloRich; 06-12-2022 at 11:41 AM.

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    Sorry for the 'silly wasn't I' question but how do you embed a video?

  9. #9
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    None of them. Smokey’s was the best. And that includes Ella’s version, which is a very close second.
    Last edited by thanxal; 06-12-2022 at 11:55 AM.

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    Ella can do no wrong [[despite the song's lyrics suggesting otherwise)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PauloRich View Post
    Ella can do no wrong [[despite the song's lyrics suggesting otherwise)
    Lol!!! Right there with you!

  12. #12
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    And The Escorts recorded a beautiful, smooth, respectful version in '73 from inside a NJ state prison complete with repentant [[on another level) intro! Then there's Bunny Sigler's own soulful take in the "Soulful Tale Of Two Cities" project. Shalamar's version's none too shabby either [[is that Gary Mumford or Gerald Brown leading?). But we all know there's no topping the original. Except for the live version on the Miracles' farewell album which for me blows even the studio version away- BTW was that concert ever released on CD? I'd crawl over glass to get that CD.

  13. #13
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    Last edited by sansradio; 06-12-2022 at 12:48 PM.

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    Haha @BritishTony... The slowed down tempo and musical arrangement of the 1972 live Miracles version is sublime. I think that's where Sydney Justin got his inspiration. I couldn't find it released anywhere on CD. But here ya go

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jQNI3EWssU

    Those other versions are all good stabs and yeh that is Gary Mumford on the lead vocal for Shalamar. Zapp also did a cover.

    @sansradio Sylvester had the vocal range and I like what Honey Cone did with the funky bridge and great harmonies.

    Though his vocal range is lower, Luther Vandross did a great live version in tribute to Smokey
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKaFpYfzJwU

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    Do you guys know Durand Jones and The Indications?

    Here's their lockedown-and-need-to-do-something version. It hits the sweet soul mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xivCx_OYgPo

    Their drummer/2nd lead vocalist, Aaron Frazer is heavily inspired by Smokey Robinson's vocal style and writing and Marv Tarplin guitar licks. Check out his solo album. Plenty of Motown references come through
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmlTwWQCraE

  17. #17
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    Hey Paulo, I love Durand Jones & The Indications, and Aaron Frazer's latest album as well! As you say, it’s very Smokey-esque, and brilliantly done.

    Nice cover of "Ooo Baby Baby" as well!

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    Seal did a really nice version of the song for his 2011 album of soul covers, Soul 2… possibly my favourite besides the original…


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    So many great versions, here's a few more, my favourite
    The Magnificent 7

    *Lawrence & The Arabians
    *The Magnificent 7
    *San Francisco T.K.O.'s
    *The Whatnauts
    *The Five Stairsteps
    *Escorts

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    Being as you bought Ella into the cover versions how about this one "Get Ready" also by Smokey Robinson, a great Motown cover & Northern Soul favourite


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    Quote Originally Posted by copley View Post
    I prefer Linda Ronstadt's version to the original.

    This one gets my vote too, absolutely stunning vocal by Linda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Jarvis View Post
    Being as you bought Ella into the cover versions how about this one "Get Ready" also by Smokey Robinson, a great Motown cover & Northern Soul favourite

    Simply stunning. That whole album is covers and they are better than the originals, IMHO.
    Name:  ella-ella-fitzgerald-album-885d388a-e133-42c3-85aa-4c0effb33bf-resize-750.jpg
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  23. #23
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    I loved Smokey Robinson & Linda Ronstadt duet on Motown 25

    Ooh Baby Baby

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    Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    Absolutely hate that Teena Marie version. out of tune [[in several places) and totally oversung - a prime example of how to ruin a beautiful song. Put me off Teena Marie for life sadly.
    OMG! Teena's performance is wonderfully emotive. I loved her singing for him. She is one of my favorite Motown artists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    This one gets my vote too, absolutely stunning vocal by Linda.
    Yep! One of the greatest voices in popular music.

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    The Fuzz has a nice version on their only album.

  30. #30
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    @TomatoTom123 - Hey! Yeh I agree re Durand Jones & The Indications and Aaron Frazer!

    Seal’s cover is nice and plenty of other lower register voice versions like Will Downing’s and Lenny Kravitz.

    @Graham Jarvis - Wow that’s a great list. I’ve not heard some of those versions and look forward to hearing them
    And yeh Ella has smashed many a Motown composition. I love her rendition of Smokey’s Hunter Gets Captured By The Game.

    @Guy - Have you heard Smokey and Aretha’s snippet live on Soul Train?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVliVMQDs7I

    Smokey also recorded it as a duet with Ledisi in 2014
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g_9jSo8sM8

    @mr_june - Yeh The Fuzz is my favourite cover as it brings its own Reggae vibe with sweet alternative melody harmonies [[y)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhGZbB-QdNs

    ‘Ooh Baby Baby’ is a classic that gives the opportunity for covering artists to explore the sweet harmonies and emotive lead melody.

    Thanks for all the contributions. The original Miracles version seems to have come out on top, with some honourable covers!

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    How about this question - what Motown artist/artists would you like to have heard cover 'Ooo Baby Baby'?:
    I'm thinking...

    A mid-70's G. C. Cameron or G.C. Cameron & Syreeta
    A 1967 Wanda/The Marvelettes
    A 1969 The Jackson 5
    An early 70's Marvin Gaye
    An any era Gladys Knight & The Pips

    Wha'dya think.. any others?

  32. #32
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    Smokey should've sang it with the miracles on thier set!!

  33. #33
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    Ooh baby baby stands alone as a classic!!!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by PauloRich View Post
    How about this question - what Motown artist/artists would you like to have heard cover 'Ooo Baby Baby'?:
    I'm thinking...

    A mid-70's G. C. Cameron or G.C. Cameron & Syreeta
    A 1967 Wanda/The Marvelettes
    A 1969 The Jackson 5
    An early 70's Marvin Gaye
    An any era Gladys Knight & The Pips

    Wha'dya think.. any others?
    GC Cameron would have been an great one! He copied Smokey's voice down to a T on "Don’t Wanna Play Pajama Games"


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