Song Of The Day 1/19/2015: Leslie Uggams - "Don't You Even Care"

Northern Soul Week: Leslie Uggams was someone I used to see on Hollywood Squares when I was younger, as she was elasticized between the bright orange borders of a stalemate childhood game strategy in which capturing Paul Lynde was the only real, yet purely symbolic victory and the sordid chipped paint of the celebrity B-list of the era. Sounds worse than it probably was. It wasn’t until I started delving into the Northern Soul of this week that I realized she’d had a recording career, indeed enough of one that there is (or was) a greatest-hits anthology under her name.

She was also on, and obviously survived, the Sing Along With Mitch TV show. That was run by Mitch Miller, a record producer and A&R man who also apparently sang, though he had the good sense to be surrounded by younger and more ebullient sorts so he never had to wail on a solo run. (To the nascent rock record industry he was sort of a double-edged sword. Good Mitch discovered Aretha Franklin. Bad Mitch thought rock and roll was “baby food” and passed on Elvis, Buddy Holly and the Beatles.)

“Don’t You Even Care” was released on the Atlantic label in 1965, when Uggams was 22 years old. Classic Northern Soul; certainly not inappropriate for other directional R&B either. Driving quarter-note drum pulse, snappy short hook, high arching strings, romantic disillusionment, that kind of deal.

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