Song Of The Day 2/2/2015: The Messengers - "That's the Way a Woman Is"

Alt-Motown: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a subtle shift on Song Of The Day for the last couple of months towards more R&B music. There’s been a tiny bit of strategy behind it. I think I explained my leanings towards R&B as a lifestyle choice last June, so it shouldn’t be too alarming that the move isn’t accidental or coincidental.

I’ll reveal more about that once I’ve convinced the stockholders to re-up my contract. One little factory explosion and everyone wants your head. N— n— NOW I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, DARRELL BEVELL!! WE WERE ON THE 1-YARD LINE!! THE 1-YARD-LINE!!

(Sorry. It was folly to think I could get through this entry without mentioning the Super Bowl. OK. It’s off my chest. Moving on.)

The point being: Over the last couple of months I’ve been diving headlong into an impossibly large amount of historical R&B music, having acquired just about everything I could ever want from its major players, including The Complete Motown Singles box sets. That’s plural, “box sets.” There are 14 of them covering the years 1959–1972. Nearly 2,000 songs. While R&B is the only thing anyone ever talks about with Motown Records for very good reason, back in the ’60s and ’70s they were trying to maximize their coverage just like every other serious label in existence. That meant that they explored music in other genres: rock, lite pop, some comedy, and even country. (That actually makes sense. Detroit isn’t that far from the rest of the industrial or agricultural heartland of the USA, country music personified.)

Literally none of these non-R&B sides were anything more than regional or mid-chart hits, perhaps because nobody expected anything other than what Motown was famous for. However, a lot of these songs were good – some of them really good. Motown’s country sides I spoke of up there? Perfectly solid mid-’60s country. Most of the straight pop stuff they released compared favorably to the bubblegum it was up against and was nowhere nearly as ingratiating.

I thought it might stroke your vegetables if I featured some of the non-R&B songs from Motown’s heyday. Believe it or not there’s a lot of good stuff I have to leave out for time reasons. One song I can’t leave out is today’s pick from The Messengers, a group from Minnesota whose story is fairly sketchy, just because there’s not a lot of biographical details I can glean about them. “That’s the Way a Woman Is,” despite its brazenly ambitious title thesis, reached the Everest heights of #62 on the Billboard chart, though it was a bigger hit in Japan. Never mind the chauvinism, daddy’s starvin’ for ear candy.

Post a Comment

Popular Recent Posts