Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
Time for another mid-week Motown break. The Four Tops had tremendous success whether they were singing their own Motown originals or covers like “Walk Away Renee” (first recorded by The Left Banke in 1966), “If I Were A Carpenter” (written & recorded by Tim Hardin in 1967) or “River Deep Mountain High” (originally recorded by Ike & Tina Turner in 1966). The reason they never missed was because Levi Stubbs was as close to perfection as a vocalist could be. He had a smooth polished vocal as opposed to the impassioned raw emotion of his Temptations counterpoint, David Ruffin. I often thought of Stubbs singing to be close in style to Sam Cooke’s while Ruffin’s was more like Otis Redding’s. All four men had incredible iconic voices, just different styles.
Added to Stubbs’ vocals were the harmonious backing sounds by his group members- Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton-along with the music of The Funk Brothers and the historic magical sound of The Four Tops was complete. All four members stayed together for 44 years, a record unmatched by any other act on the label. To this day they remain one of Motown’s most beloved and renowned groups and one of my great loves from that era.
“All you left is our favorite song
The one we danced to all night long
It used to bring sweet memories
Of a tender love that used to be.”
The Four Tops circa 1965 (L-to-R) Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, and Lawrence Payton. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
The Four Tops: “It’s The Same Old Song” ( 1965, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.