Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gayle McCormick: It's A Crying Shame (Dunhill 45-D-4288)

Normally, this isn't the kind of thing I'd talk about. I mean, this was a minor hit in the fall of 1971 (I believe it peaked at #37 in Billboard)and it's in the same vein of similar-sounding records from Dunhill from that period, particularly with Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds ("Don't Pull Your Love") and The Grass Roots ("Sooner or Later"). But with the advent of Northern Soul, this record has been dragged out as a dance floor filler. (At least I've noticed it discussed as such on the garagepunk.com forum.) Perhaps it is, but with me, it's a more of a guilty pleasure.

Gayle McCormick, you may recall, was the lead singer of Smith, who had a hit the previous year and a half ago with a cover of The Shirelles' "Baby It's You." This solo effort was produced by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who would work magic with The Four Tops when they joined Dunhill the next year. The arrangement is credited to Lambert and Jimmie Haskell, whom you may remember from a few reviews earlier (see the July 2005 archives).

And what kind of arrangement is it? It starts off with a punchy rhythm and tasty piano, then horns come in and finally lush strings. And through it all comes Ms. McCormick's vocals which are as blue-eyed soul as you can get. Whatever you may have thought of Smith, Gayle McCormick had the pipes and she gives them a smooth, yet powerful, workout on this track, which tells of the disappointment of a relationship that didn't work out. The chorus says it all:

Love walked out the door,
It's a crying shame,
we don't have it no more.

Why is this a guilty pleasure? Well, this is usually the type of record I don't often get into. Lushly-orchestrated studio pop like this is not my thing and the 70s were definitely full of it. (NOTE: Okay, so it isn't The Crapenters, er, I mean The Carpenters, but it woudn't be too out of place on an MOR station of the period, IMHO. )But sometimes a gem stands out among the clones. This, to me, is one such gem. Why it wasn't a bigger hit...........


Todd Lucas said...

FWIW, Smith's version of "Baby It's You" is my personal favorite. Love the vocal on that.

Stuart Shea said...

Yeah, have to agree. She could belt the hell out of a tune.

Phil said...

She also was quite a looker!
As far as the tune goes, Lambert-Potter were trying to emulate the Motown style which they were more successfull with using the Four Tops.

JangleRadio said...

Back in 1966-7 Gayle also made a great Northern Soul-ish record with a band by the name of the Klassman called "Without You" on the Musicland label. Its worth picking up and I think its better than this one and far better than "Baby It's You"...

superflash said...

Here's a quality surprise for Gayle fans. An 80-minute 'Best of' in the best sound quality and De-Clicked. A labor of love.


Includes her first two solo albums IN THEIR ENTIRETY plus the SMITH A-sides featuring her lead vocals.

Here are the reduced images of the cover art included:



Her work deserves more exposure!!!

If you don't understand torrents:


Paula said...

Just checking out your website looking up the name of the singer Gayle McCormick.
Ran into her music on the internet.
I'm confused about what happened to her and why such a short career with so much talent?
I'm surprised a Clive Davis type did not help her along.