Monday, May 11, 2009
Spyder Turner - "You're Good Enough For Me" (MGM)
Once again we have a b-side that's better than the actual hit. Spyder Turner reportedly didn't like his novelty version of "Stand By Me," in which he did his impersonations of Jackie Wilson, David Ruffin, Billy Stewart, Chuck Jackson and Smokey Robinson. Yet, it ended up being his only chart-making hit rising to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1967. It did even better on the soul chart going up to #3. On the b-side of the record, however, there's a real boot-shaker of a tune which is our focus for this entry.
A bit of info on Turner: Born Dwight Turner in West Virginia in 1947, he settled with his family in Detroit after years of moving around to various locations. There, in his teen years, he began singing in glee clubs and with various doo-wop groups. By the mid 60s, he and his band The Nonchalants were working up and down all the bars in town. After the band broke up, Annie Gellen, host of the "Swing Time" TV show out of Lansing, Michigan, arranged for Turner to submit an audition tape to MGM. Thus, his version of "Stand By Me" was born. Turner later told Blues and Soul magazine that MGM "felt it was good enough. I didn't agree. I didn't like it but I wanted a record deal so I went on ahead and did a B-side for them." (This information comes from Wayne Jancik's book "The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders.")
That B-side is really where the action is on this record with Turner and his chick back-up singers working up a sweat singin' and stompin' while the back up band keeps up a steady beat that never lets up. Turner's delivery is smooth and cool while the back up singers chirp "Good enough, you're good enough for me baby." The whole result of this is that we got a full-fledge soul mover and shaker which easily trumps the better-known A-side.
Turner is still recording and performing today. You can get the latest info on him at his website http://www.spyderturner.com/. Also, another record by Turner you should seek out is his recording of "Ride In My 225" on Fortune Records, which came before "Stand By Me." That's another great record worthy of your ears, but that's another time and perhaps another blog entry.