Saturday Single No. 391

What with the brain moving in slow motion this morning and the Texas Gal having secured my promise that I will help bag raked leaves before noon, it’s time to lean on a favorite crutch and play Games With Numbers. Today’s date, 5/3, becomes No. 53, and we’re off to find out what records were at No. 53 on May 3 from, oh, let’s do 1970 through 1973 and get four records from which to choose a Saturday Single. (As we tend to do here, we’ll note the No. 1 records from those weeks as we fly by.)

Landing in 1970, we find ourselves listening to a slice of Philly soul from Eddie Holman, who’s sitting at No. 53 with the double-sided single, “Don’t Stop Now/Since I Don’t Have You.” The A-side is a decent piece of Philly soul on ABC – an older version had been released four years earlier on Parkway and bubbled under at No. 104 – backed with a good cover of the Skyliners’ 1959 hit. The two-sided record, which looks in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles as if it were Holman’s follow-up to “Hey There Lonely Girl,’ (a No. 2 hit in early 1970) was on its way to No. 48. The No. 1 record that week was “ABC” by the Jackson 5.”

Perched at No. 53 a year later was the final charting single from Booker T & The MG’s: “Melting Pot.” A funky and slinky workout with plenty of room for all four musicians to shine, the single was an edit or an excerpt from a longer piece that was the title track and opener to the group’s 1971 album, Melting Pot. The single was on its way to No. 48, the eighteenth and – as I noted – last single the group would place in or near the Billboard Hot 100. (The best-performing of those singles had been the first, the iconic “Green Onions,” which went to No. 3 in 1962.) Sitting at No. 1 during the first week of May in 1971was Three Dog Night’s “Joy To The World.”

A year later, we find the No. 53 slot occupied by the sweet and atmospheric “Walk In The Night” by Jr. Walker& The All Star. The record, which was on its way to No. 46 that week, is one that I featured a couple of years ago, and as I listen to it again this morning, it still doesn’t sound anything like 1972 to me. “Walk In The Night” was the next-to-last of twenty-three records that Walker placed in or near the Hot 100 between 1965 and 1973. Sitting in the top spot of the Hot 100 during the first week in May 1972 was Roberta Flack’s massive hit “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

And we close this little exercise with a look at the first chart of May in 1973, where we find at No. 53 a brilliant bit of Philly soul: The Stylistics’ “Break Up To Make Up.” The plaint about the “game for fools” had peaked four weeks earlier at No. 5, the fourth of five eventual Top Ten hits for the group, who would in the end put seventeen records in or near the Hot 100 in a five-year period (1971-76). Their best-performing single would be “You Make Me Feel Brand New” in early 1974. And sitting at No. 1 during the first week of May 1973 was “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando & Dawn.

So we have four sweet pieces of soul/R&B to choose from this morning. I’m tempted by the Jr. Walker track, but we just listened to it here two years ago, and even though blog years seem to run on a different track than real-time years, that’s just too recent. So I popped over to Amazon to find an mp3 of “Melting Pot,” as the single edits available at YouTube were in pretty sad shape. And success there – and I can do no more than hope that the single version offered there is the same as the U.S. single version from 1971 and that the 45 jacket used in the video is the one that was used in the U.S. – means that “Melting Pot” by Booker T & The MG’s is today’s Saturday Single.

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One Response to “Saturday Single No. 391”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    That is the 45 version of “Melting Pot,” although the clip fades out a few seconds sooner than my U.S. Stax stock copy. The picture sleeve is probably European, though (not a single one of the numerous U.S. Stax Booker T. & The M.G.’s commercial 45s ever wore one.) That same year, the A&M promo 45 of Booker T. & Priscilla’s “Wedding Song” did sport a glossy (though not very imaginative) title sleeve.

    Running across BT&TM.G.’s then-brand new “Crusin'” single on Columbia at Cheapo in 1994 was a real surprise. Even though it was an edit, they hadn’t missed a beat.

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