Monday, August 15, 2011

R. Dean Taylor's Ecological Entry

Motown Records created their Rare Earth subsidiary specifically for white artists and named it in honor of the cowbell-clanking combo that had been sending Motown covers like "Get Ready" and "(I Know) I'm Losing You" up the charts. One of the label's other signings, R. Dean Taylor, was a Canadian who already had a Motown track record, having co-written the Supremes’ “Love Child” and the Temptations’ “All I Need,” among others. Each of Taylor’s best-known singles were fraught with worry. “Indiana Wants Me,” his one all-out smash, is sung from the point of view of a killer on the run. “Gotta See Jane” is all romantic stomach-knots and remorse. “Taos New Mexico” is a dispatch from the clink, and “There’s a Ghost in My House” compares the horror of infidelity with that of paranormal experience. “Ain’t it a Sad Thing” (which peaked at #66 on Billboard) bemoans the environment, taking its cues from Motown's Marvin Gaye (“Mercy Mercy Me”). Worrisome subject matter aside, "Ain't It a Sad Thing" features one of pop music’s finest whistle choruses.

R. Dean Taylor - "Ain't It a Sad Thing" (1970, Billboard #66)

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