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My Guy

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Mary Wells 10/1/1999

Review

This is one of the rarer versions of Mary Wells music from the '80s, a generous 22-track compilation called My Guy which is slightly misleading, not only because the song referenced here is the disco version of her 1964 number one hit released 19 years after the fact, but because there are a variety of albums out there with the words "My Guy" attached to Mary Wells' product including a live DVD. Some of the material on this version of My Guy was recorded for a 1983 release on Allegiance Records entitled I'm a Lady: The Old, New & Best of Mary Wells, re-released on the 1997 14-track My Guy: The Best of Mary Wells on the Aim label, and also as a 15 track collection called Dance with Me on the Orpheus imprint. A true fan needs a score card as some of the labels don't offer much help in identifying who the players are or which part of Wells' career these studio performances were drawn from. Now to add to the confusion this compilation includes excellent material from the 1968 release on Jubilee Records, Servin' Up Some Soul, a disc that spawned the Top 65 hit, "The Doctor," which is very, very nice as it actually emulates the Motown sound that made her famous. Mary Wells Womack and husband Cecil Womack do a superb job of re-creating a Memphis/Detroit blend that fits her sultry voice just perfectly. Also from those sessions is the treat of Wells' take on two Jerry Ross' production masterpieces -- Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" and Jay & the Techniques' "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin' Pie," the song Hebb rejected because of its novelty overtones. "Sunny" was covered by the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye at Motown and -- unlike other songs shared by artists in the Berry Gordy stable -- these renditions of"Sunny" were not merely the voices over the same backing track, separate tracks were cut for all the cover versions of this particular tune. So now you can add another super look at the song by a Motown artist, descending horns and drums playing against a funky piano give Wells the opportunity to get soulful with "Sunny" on this compilation CD that mixes quasi-disco with the R&B pop Wells is known for. "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" is a good case in point in regards to the latter, with a driving '60s pop charge reminiscent of another Jerry Ross standout, "Love Love Love." There are seven Smokey Robinson titles (remakes of the earlier hits), some Holland-Dozier-Holland compositions, and a cover of Prince's "I Feel for You." Despite the haphazard mixing of productions spanning decades onto this 77-minute collection, Wells' emotional outpouring gives "Oh Little Boy What Did You Do to Me" something so special that when the thin production on "To Feel Your Love" comes through the speakers it can be forgiven, although its little flavors of Chic's "I Want Your Love" that permeate the backing vocals add a charming touch. Wells is a class act who rises above the minor flaws. As all over the map as this compilation is, all that needs to be done is to add a few liner notes to make this a collector's item. ~ Joe Viglione
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 My Guy Mary Wells 3:20
  3. 2 The One Who Really Loves You Mary Wells 3:46
  4. 3 You Beat Me to the Punch Mary Wells 3:39
  5. 4 Two Lovers Mary Wells 2:52
  6. 5 Bye Bye Baby Mary Wells 3:38
  7. 6 You Lost the Sweetest Boy Mary Wells 3:58
  8. 7 What's Easy for Two Is So Hard for One Mary Wells 3:32
  9. 8 The Doctor Mary Wells 2:17
  10. 9 Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin' Pie Mary Wells 2:38
  11. 10 Stag-O-Lee Mary Wells 3:42

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