BETTYE SWANN: MAKING US HERS

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Bettye Swann: Make Me Yours
I Will Not Cry
From 7″ (Money, 1967).

Make Me Yours (CD Mix)
Make Me Yours (“Remix”)
From The Money Recordings

Bettye Swann: (My Heart Is) Closed for the Season
From 7″ (Capitol, 1968). Also on Bettye Swann.

When my man Vinnie got married, he had some custom 7″s pressed (class move, always) and on one side was Bettye Swann’s “Make Me Yours.” That’s a damn high compliment but who would deny that Swann’s song earns it?

The song not only became Swann’s first major hit – #1 on the R&B, a respectable #21 on the pop charts – but it also put Money Records back in the spotlight after a decade or so in the dark. Money had been created by L.A.’s legendary Central Ave. maven John Dolphin and was revived by his widow, Ruth Dolphin not long before Swann began recording with them.1

Produced by Arthur Wright, “Make Me Yours” is an absolute charmer of a song that benefits from strong horn section and well-placed back-up singers. Oh yeah, that plus Swann really owns the performance on here with the just the right balance of emotive growling and a sweet lilt. Why three versions? Well, the first one is the original version, digitized directly off vinyl but then, I noticed on Swann’s Money anthology, there was a “remix” which sounds like the original sans the back-up singers. Sounds like someone had multi-track access and simply took out the singers which creates a very slightly different song (and not necessarily improved). Then, on my own hard drive, I found a third version of “Make Me Yours” which sounds like some forced a stereo separation here since Swann’s vocals are actually pushed to the “interior” of the song while the back-ups are pushed further out (and slightly left). Not sure what’s going on here technically but it’s kind of an intriguing way to experience the “aural space” of the song (and yes, it still sounds good).2

I also included the flipside of the original 7″, “I Will Not Cry,” a brooding, mid-tempo number, more clapper than stomper but the back beat is heavy enough to put your backside in motion. Gotta love 45s like this when both sides are excellent.

My introduction to Swann didn’t come via “Make Me Yours” though; it came from listening to her 1968 single, “(My Heart Is) Close for the Season.” The success of “Make Me Yours” put Swann on the map with bigger fish in the LA record market and Capitol scooped her up, releasing this as one of her first batch of singles for the iconic imprint. The song is notably darker, both sonically and thematically; this is an ultimate break-up song though it’s less defiant than it is just resigned.3 Haunting in all the good ways.


Notes:

  1. John Dolphin had a long list of pissed off artists coming after him for money owed and one of them ending shooting him to death in 1958.
  2. This version appears on that same CD and it clearly suggests they remastered for that album since the panning effect is not remotely evidently on the actual, original single.
  3. Reminds me Inell Young’s “What Do You See In Her” actually.

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