Mary Wells – Two Sides Of Mary Wells (1966/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Mary Wells – Two Sides Of Mary Wells (1966/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 33:22 minutes | 744 MB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Rhino Atlantic

A rare recording from the 60s – one that showcases two different sides of singer Mary Wells, in a mode that’s different than her work for other labels! The “two sides” in the title are Mary’s soul side and her more sophisticated one – the former served up in a batch of great 60s soul covers that echo with an Atlantic sound that’s even harder than Mary’s earlier work – the latter by a host of groovy 60s pop numbers, done with fuller arrangements, and a vocal range that really surprised us! Sonny Sanders handles the soul sides, Joe Mazzu handles the sophisticated ones – and titles include “Love Make The World Go Round”, “My World Is Empty Without You Babe”, “Good Lovin”, “Dear Lover”, “In The Midnight Hour”, “Where Am I Going”, “The Boy From Ipanema”, and “The Shadow of Your Smile”.

Mary Wells will forever be known as a Motown artist, but after she left the label in 1964 she cut some very good singles for 20th Century and Atco. Her only album for Atco, The Two Sides of Mary Wells, was cut in 1966 and does indeed feature two sides of Mary Wells. Side one is covers of soul and rock hits of the day (plus the single “Dear Lover”); side two is made up of jazz standards and show tunes. On side one producer Carl Davis doesn’t stray far from the Motown sound Wells was associated with; her cover of Deon Jackson’s “Love Makes the World Go Round” and the Supremes’ “My World Is Empty Without You Babe” hew the closest to that label’s punchy and compressed style, but “Good Lovin'” and “Satisfaction” aren’t far off. Only her raw take on “In the Midnight Hour” and the lovely ballad “Dear Lover,” which is a very New York-sounding slice of sophisticated soul powered by Wells’ best vocal on the album, stray very far. Fair enough, everyone involved had to know that the only hope Wells had of selling records was to capture some “My Guy” magic in a bottle, and the best way to catch it was to follow the formula. The standards side is semi-interesting; Wells can sing the songs chosen well enough, but ultimately the tunes are too slickly produced and she’s no Carmen McRae or Dinah Washington. Not even Nancy Wilson. Better to let her stick to the sweet soul and leave the standards to the pros. The failure of this record to be satisfying falls directly on the head of whoever had the idea for Wells to sing standards. Better to track down Ichiban’s Dear Lover: The Atco Sessions, which has all the soul sides from The Two Sides of Mary Wells, plus all four of her Atco singles and a couple of unreleased tracks, to boot.

Tracklist:
01 – Satisfaction
02 – Love Makes The World Go Round
03 – In The Midnight Hour
04 – My World Is Empty Without You Babe
05 – Good Lovin’
06 – Dear Lover
07 – Where Am I Going
08 – Shangri-La
09 – On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
10 – The Shadow Of Your Smile
11 – The Boy From Ipanema
12 – Sunrise Sunset

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