Monday, August 29, 2011

30-Day Song Challenge: An obscure song that you love (day 5)

(Note: I'm asking readers to indulge me today as I'm exercising some editorial discretion and replacing "a song that reminds you of someone" with today's alternate category of my choosing.)

The production triumvirate of Stock, Aitken & Waterman was responsible for some pop gems and some awful music in the late '80s. One of their happy accidents was Carol Hitchcock, who got no further than the release of a single, "Get Ready," in 1987. The song hit #56 in the UK and, best I can tell, missed the Billboard Hot 100 entirely. That's a shame, because it's a cracking cover of the Motown classic, with SAW in top form and Hitchcock, whose bald look unfortunately became the most notable thing about her in terms of pop history, pulling off a competent vocal performance. But what I'd like to call your attention to is the single's B-side, Hitchcock's take on "More Than Words Can Say," a SAW ballad that had already appeared on Mel & Kim's SAW-produced album and that would also go on to be butchered by Hazell Dean as her B-side to "Love Pains." The Mel & Kim version sounds like a weak Rick Astley album cut — in other words, chintzy. Judging by the few comments on the YouTube video below, however, I may be in the minority in believing Hitchcock pulled off the definitive version of this track, thanks to a convincing vocal and a rare moment of restraint on the part of SAW, who approach the ballad with a delicate touch, playing up the guitar riffs and setting aside the dance track. This effective song could have been something in the right time and place — I can easily imagine an established chanteuse like Laura Branigan singing it and Casey Kasem counting it down.

No comments: