Songs Of The Day 2/3/2015: Vincent DiMirco - "I Can Make It Alone" + "Come Clean"

Alt-Motown: Vincent DiMirco has as curtailed a paper trail as anyone I’ve ever featured on Song Of The Day. A lot of what I’ve found on him is single-item information that can’t be confirmed in more than one place. What’s certain: DiMirco’s primary claim to something akin to fame is co-writing “Up the Ladder to the Roof,” the first single credited to The Supremes after Diana Ross left. He also wrote “Take Me Clear From Here,” a song for Edwin Starr that didn’t chart but contains one of the “War” singer’s most twisted vocal deliveries.

That, really, is about all we know about DiMirco. I can’t find a picture. I found a single message board post from 2006 in which some guy says he knows another guy who knows DiMirco, and he was living a “reclusive” life in New York City. Somehow DiMirco has avoided the far-reaching tentacles of the internet. I leave the blessing/curse debate to him.

Today’s entry constitutes DiMirco’s entire solo output as a recording artist, released on Motown’s Rare Earth subsidiary in 1972. It’s disarming in its restraint. “I Can Make It Alone” was the A-side, a patiently paced piece of fragility that conjures up visions of David Gates in Muscle Shoals. DiMirco has an unforced but expressive falsetto that should have gotten further than it did.

But it’s “Come Clean” that I rearranged this week’s schedule for. There was never a more intimate song on Motown or any of its imprints; it’s as close as any American artist got to Nick Drake on a commercially-minded enterprise. It’s stark, cold, stripped down to the bone and a couple of cartilage fragments. There’s so much quiet, dramatic exposure here that you have to wonder if DiMirco didn’t even want to bother with the compromise-heavy dealings of the music industry at the time. It’s a startling, beautiful song. I don’t even have a suitable one-sentence quip to end this entry.

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