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...........