THE WATERS + WHISPERS: DOGGONE GOOD


The Waters: My Heart Just Won’t Let Go
From
S/T (Blue Note, 1975)

The Whispers: Your Love Is So Doggone Good
From
Love Story (Janus, 1972)

The nice thing about cleaning out the record closet is rediscovering songs from albums that have just been sitting around but you never spent much time with. With both The Waters and Whispers, I wasn’t really blown away by either album as a whole but I was able to find at least one very good song to pull from each. It’s like going through your freezer and discovering an ice cream sandwich you forgot about. Or something like that.

In any case, The Waters were a four-person family group who first recorded for Blue Note. That always seemed a bit odd to me given that The Waters were a soul vocal group and Blue Note was, of course, a jazz label but in the mid-1970s, Blue Note had branched out to record a wider array of artists and vocalizing was hardly unusual (see all the Mizell Bros. stuff for example). “My Heart Just Won’t Let Go” is from the B-side of the Waters self-titled album (their only LP for Blue Note): it’s a nice slice of funky soul, especially given Chuck Rainey’s bass work.

“Your Love Is So Doggone Good” was an early, minor hit for this Los Angeles soul group that’s become one of the more prolific ones to survive the 1970s. It opens the B-side of Love Story, the group’s second album and first recorded for Janus. I was actually ready to sell this LP back – I wasn’t really feeling most of the soul songs on here – until I took another listen to “Your Love” and realized I was being too hasty. The slow build on the song is great, the arrangement is the best of any song on the album, and the Scotts nail the chorus beautifully.

There’s also something in this song – which I can’t place – which gives me flashbacks of San Francisco in the ’70s. I know that sounds weird and I wish I could narrow what mnemonic trigger is being pulled here but even though I’m sure I never heard this song when it first came out (I would have been an infant), it evokes a wistful, almost nostalgic response. Great song, regardless.

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