Mary Wells

Two Lovers and Other Great Hits

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Smokey Robinson's paradoxical composition "Two Lovers" rides shotgun on a Mary Wells LP designed to cross genres. The beautiful floater is about Smokey's wife Claudette, a Gemini, the astrological sign of the split personality. The harmonic "Operator," also written by Robinson, is one of Mary's most commercial efforts; it would have scored if Motown hadn't stamped it on the back on "Two Lovers" -- what a waste. Wells is backed by the Love Tones, the most unheralded group in Motown's history; the three young men's claim to fame is backing Wells in the studio, the most famous coupling being "The One Who Really Loves You." You won't find Mary singing with more pain then she does on "Laughing Boy," where once again the Love Tones shine. Motown had big hopes for this ballad, pressing hundreds of thousands of copies in advance, something unheard of in the '60s for an R&B artist. The normal procedure was to press as you sold, hoping you could keep the distributors supplied with enough copies to satisfy their clients; though the record charted and was technically a hit, Motown manufactured far more copies then they sold. An attempt to spotlight Wells' versatility is evident in remakes of "Guess Who" and "Goody, Goody." A dark horse here is "My 2 Arms - You Equals Tears," but unfortunately its only exposure was on this LP.