The Primettes

Looking Back

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This CD is slightly misleading -- it does, indeed, contain seven of eight songs known to have been cut by the Primettes for LuPine Records in 1960, although the group is singing backup behind Al Garner on several of these numbers. They're paired here with eight early Eddie Floyd sides, also cut for LuPine following the breakup of the Falcons. Primitive as some early Motown recordings seem, these Primettes sides outdo them, essentially doo wop records with an edge, and patterned after the singing of the Chantels. Diana Ross' voice is in evidence, at a very youthful stage, but Florence Ballard (with Mary Wilson and Barbara Martin) is more prominent -- "Tear of Sorrow," eerily enough, anticipates the sound and texture of "Please Mr. Postman," even as it borrows some patterns and musical phrases from the Drifters' then-contemporary hit "There Goes My Baby." "Pretty Baby" even seems to appropriate a bit from "Way Over There" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. The rest is passionately sung but otherwise undistinguished early-'60s girl group-style pop -- the Primettes had the voices and meshed them well, but needed better songs and a sound of their own, none of which was coming from their manager or LuPine Records. Eddie Floyd's sides are more properly representative of his work. The sound quality is fair to good, and somewhat uneven. (British import)

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