To Let You Know I Can Really Shake 'Em Down: Keep It Light

This song I would put in the category of, things you've probably heard too many times to actually hear.

But it's SO GOOD.

(For a long time, it was in that category for me too.)

Interesting things about this song:

1. It's Motown, but really does not sound like it at all. Mostly due to that squeaking, soulful vocal line (which is SO great).

2. Not only is it Motown, it's one of the few Motown hits actually written by Berry Gordy himself!

3. Not only was it written by Berry Gordy, in his frenzy of writing he became convinced that this song had to be recorded immediately if not sooner (it seems like he did this a lot). It was supposed to go to the Temptations, but he actually literally could not FIND the Temptations, so grabbed another group and had them do it instead.

Which is a very charming story and only feeds my Martha-Reeves fantasies of being some unassuming office-type in the corridors of Hitsville USA and being called in to pinch-hit as a backup singer on what turns out to be a mega-hit and then having a whole fabulous life filled with sparkly dresses and doing for a living what I currently do only in the privacy of my own home, ie perfecting my snapping-along technique to the music of the Four Tops.

AHEM. In any case, I love this song. If only because it reminds me to remember that life goes a lot better if you can dance about it. Incidentally these dance moves look a lot like mine although I can only hope to one day be this stylish.

But isn't there something just so endearing about these relatively unpolished moves, particularly with the distance of time and our current culture of HD hyper-quality? I think so. This is so much of what I love about watching Motown artists: they truly are having fun, and it shows.

The song: The Contours, "Do You Love Me"; 1962

(After all, she may not love him any better now that he's got a rockin' Twist, but you gotta know that'll serve him well.)


PS Important research for this post came from the excellent blog Motown Junkies, which is a must-read for any fan of Motown or of intelligent, unpretentious, serious writing about pop music. Thank you, Motown Junkies!