Monday, November 3, 2014

Song of the Day: Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Nowhere to Run (1965)

Here's another one of my favorite Motown singles, and one of my favorite opening bass lines ever. 

Someone once asked me how to tell the difference between '60s Motown soul and other '60s soul like Stax and Atlantic, and my immediate answer was "Tambourine." Motown just loved them some tambourine. If SNL ever wanted to do a sequel to their "More Cowbell" skit, it should be a Motown skit called "More Tambourine." Motown singles also tended to have more pronounced bass and piano, while Stax/Atlantic tended to emphasize guitar, horns, and organ far more than Motown. But really, tambourine is the key. If you hear it, it's probably Motown. But I don't mean that as a pejorative, as a song like this proves. Listening to this song makes me wish I owned a tambourine. 

There's also a great moment in the 1991 film The Commitments where the female back-up singers of the group rock out to this song while hanging laundry, so that's worth checking out.

This was originally written and posted on Facebook on May 31, 2014

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