Songs of Obsession: Bobby Womack, Tammi Terrell, William Smith: Oh Baby!

Bobby Womack: Baby, You Oughta Think It Over
From 7″, also on Fly Me to the Moon (Minit, 1969)

Tammi Terrell: Baby Don’tcha Worry
From 7″, b-side of “Come On and See Me” (Motown, 1966). Also on The Essential Collection.

William D. Smith: I Feel So Good With You (Baby)
From A Good Feelin’ (Warner Bros, 1976)

I admit – the “baby” theme was just an excuse to post up some recent songs (and one that’s been waiting in the queue) and I was too lazy to think of something more original. Of course, I realized I have a few dozen other eligible “baby” songs so who knows? Maybe we’ll have a part deux somewhere down the line.

I am serious about the “songs of obsession” thing though – all three of these songs have clocked repeat-repeat-repeat listenings from me at some point and I’ve been waiting to find an excuse to post them up so, voila.

It began with the Bobby Womack song – I had never heard Fly Me to the Moon until recently and while the entire LP didn’t blow me away, I loved “Baby, You Oughta Think It Over” enough to hunt it down on 7″. I’ve never been the biggest Womack fan – it’s not that I don’t think he’s talented but for whatever reason, he just wasn’t at the top of my list of favorites. This one song though? Love it. It’s all in how Womack stretches out “ooooooovvvver.” (It’s not just that – I really dig the arrangement and Womack’s voice in general but that one note was enough to win me over. Everything else is a grand bonus).

The Terrell is such a damn great example of the mid-60s Motown groove that it makes me downright embarrassed that I’ve never owned a Terrell single (let alone album). I’ve probably given Motown the cold shoulder for too long (not like I’ve avoided the entire label writ larger, but I was always more of a Stax man and sometimes, that meant putting the blinders on in regards to how astounding Motown could be) and a song like Terrell’s makes me re-evaluate a lot of things. This song brings such a smile to my entire being and I especially like the unexpected key change (at least, I think it’s a key change) at the chorus mark. This isn’t the most sophisticated R&B song ever recorded but it plain works as a mid-tempo dance track. Never appeared on an album…except a Terrell/Marvin Gaye duets album where Gaye’s vocals were added after the fact. I prefer this 7″ original with just Terrell on it (sorry Marvin!)

Lastly, I’m genuinely surprised I never put up this William Smith song before – clearly an oversight on my part since it’s long been a personal favorite. I don’t know a ton about Smith but I can only assume he’s from the Gulf Coast since Allen Toussaint produced his album. I’ll be the first to admit: as far as ballads go, the Smith borders on being a bit bland yet there’s something about that bass guitar riff and the plain earnestness in Smith’s vocals that wins me over. From a formalist point of view, I have a hard time making the case for why I like this so much but I just do. Hope others feel the same way.