Monday, November 14, 2011
LABRENDA BEN - JUST BE YOURSELF b/w I CAN'T HELP IT, I GOTTA DANCE
This record sounds far more Chicago to me than Detroit (if I didn't know the pedigree and someone told me it was a VJ records release I'd believe it in a heartbeat). However, it was recorded in the period of Motor City experimentation just before Motown found the absolute winning formula that drove them to the massively successful 1964-67 period.
I've seen "Just Be Yourself" described (negatively) as MOR, but with the depth and power of LaBrenda's voice, this track is certainly on the soul side of pop soul, not to mention the fact that it really swings underneath the strings. Plus, the sentiment behind the lyrics is especially touching, and her delivery just really hits me in the heart.
The flip side is interesting in that it's almost awkward in its stomp, but ultimately succeeds by the time LaBrenda unleashes those "Turn Me Loose" lines with ferocity! Plus, extra points are given for her lyrical mention of going to a (Gordy label mates) Contours concert.
LaBrenda Ben (probably a pseudonym) released two singles for Motown/ Gordy, then seemingly left the music business. This is the second and last one; another brilliant, unheralded voice. In this day and age of singers that rely on pitch correcting software and instant stardom via TV contests and manufactured groups, when I think of the amount of truly talented and unique vocalists that are forgotten to history it reminds me of why I have spent four years of sharing this music with the world via this website. It's the real thing; something the world could desperately use more of these days.
LABRENDA BEN - JUST BE YOURSELF
b/w I CAN'T HELP IT, I GOTTA DANCE
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