Carla Thomas

Gee Whiz

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Thomas' first album was built around the huge title hit, and also included her follow-up single, "A Love of My Own," which reached the R&B Top 20, although it wasn't nearly as popular as "Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)." The record is far more pop-oriented than the sound for which Stax would become known, with both the material and the arrangements showing substantial influences from pop standards, doo wop, and even (particularly in the songs with backup vocals by the Anita Kerr Singers) Nashville country. That doesn't make it a bad record at all, just not one that listeners familiar with the Stax sound, or even Thomas' later Stax records, might expect. Though Thomas herself wrote some of the songs, about half of the tracks are covers of pop standards ("[I'm Afraid] The Masquerade Is Over") and still-recent rock/R&B hits like the Drifters' "Dance With Me" and "Fools Fall in Love" and the Five Satins' "To the Aisle." Also onboard is a composition by Carla's dad, Rufus Thomas, and a song and a half by famed Memphis producer Chips Moman, who produced five of the tracks. The 2002 CD reissue adds an alternate version of "Promises."

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