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classic motown: the four tops- just seven number (can straighten out my life)

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Uploaded on Aug 22, 2010

For reasons I could never figure out, this Four Tops song has always seemed to have a bit of sadness to it- a sadness that had nothing at all to do with the subject of the song- of trying to win back someone.

I believe the sadness for me has always come from the fact that this sounds like the last great hurrah for the classic "Motown Sound." I'm sure there were plenty of other songs that came out around this time that still had some of that great Detroit Studio A sound, but for me personally, this has always just sounded like a swan song for the Detroit era sound.

Pamela Sawyer and Gloria Jones wrote it, David Van DePitte arranged it and Frank Wilson produced it.

Levi Stubbs sounds as raging and powerful as always, but there is also a sort of ironic effect of that powerful voice effecting a sense of near-defeat- there is the feeling that poor Levi won't be seeing his love again anytime soon.

Listen on the first reading of the line "If I only knew where you were..." at :47 is there no more sadder and heartbreaking sound than Levi singing this plea?

Listen closely also to the backing vocals. Though not througout the song, it seem (and I can't verify it) the vocals of the Andantes can be heard mixed in only on the choruses. Even more interesting is that it seem the Tops' were double tracked- singing two backing parts. At points :37 and 1:15 you'll notice the Tops are heard on one channel singing a "HA! Ahhhhhh" part while on the other channel, they sing a sustained vocal backing part. Very cool.

While Levi has to rely upon seven numbers to rectify his lonely turn of events, we can rely upon listening to this marvelous classic as many times as we like to enjoy one of the best of the Four Tops' releases.

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