Baby Washington - 1963 – That’s How Heartaches Are Made
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Justine Baby Washington’s single “Thats how heartaches are made” and “Handful of Memories” are two songs that brought her success as singles as released by Sue Records. But does the public really know who Baby washington is? You will after hearing this album!And you’ll be wanting more!
I’m sure the Shirelles and other girl groups of the 60’s were influenced by her! It is evident from this album that Baby Washington can move with ease from a jazzy-feel song like “Doodlin“, to the rocknroll cha-cha feel of “Leave me alone“then on to the dreamy feel of “You and the night and the Music“. The songs run the full gamut of rocknroll emotion with some jazz, blues and loads of R&B feeling and soulful singing. Baby Washington also showcases her songwriting talent “Standing on the Pier“, “Hush Heart” and “I’ve got a feeling“, these performances are worth the price of the album!
Listen also, to the backing musicians whose stylings especially enhance “Baby’s” vocal stylings. I especially like the drums which back the vocalist’s performance with color and style! I only wish they gave these guys credit in those days, for credit is due!I was given this record back in 1965 by a band mate, and I have cherished it ever since. Now I can purchase it on CD.. Life is sweet!
A1 The Ballad of Bobby Dawn 2:48
A2 Leave Me Alone 2:18
A3 There He Is 3:00
A4 Doodlin 2:35
A5 You and the Night and the Music 2:28
A6 That’s How Heartaches Are Made 2:42
B1 Standing on the Pier 2:54
B2 I’ve Got a Feeling 2:51
B3 Careless Hands 2:30
B4 Hush Heart 2:08
B5 Go On 2:10
B6 A Handful of Memories 2:22
If the fantasy of every R&B oldy hound is that mythic LP that is always good, sometimes brilliant, and overlooked by all but a few — this must be it. So says this fan whose musical tastes embrace jazz, operetta, rap, disco and honky-tonk.
All critiques below referring to Baby’s “wistful” voice, gimcrack drummer, etc. are true. What they don’t suggest is the sum of Baby’s expressive voice and technique, which milks a good rip-off of Phil Sector’s Wall of Sound and variable songwriting.
This LP is no greatest-hits compilation, but a 1963 original from Baby’s two-bit New York label. Sue bet the farm, with modest success, on a cache of songs Baby had cut over the previous two years. Unfortunately, rapidly changing tastes had rendered the LP’s overall sound commercially obsolete the day it was released. The title track, Baby’s biggest hit, had barely nicked Billboard’s Top 40 upon its release months earlier (although its popularity in the black community probably sold a few hundred thousand copies).
But hindsight can strangely refresh what once seemed behind-the-times. As with the best albums of more talented artists, such as Nina Simone, Barbara Streisand, and Al Green, the decision to “save up” tracks and release them at what seeemed the right moment yields a cohesive, relaxed and fun album – in this case, full of aching torch songs and oddities too well sung to ignore.
First, consider the almost-famous “That’s How Heartaches Are Made“, Baby’s lilting, perfectly arranged lament thrills. The Marvellettes, Bette Midler and Loleatta Holloway are among the venerable talents who have covered this classic…without approaching the original’s impact. The odd combination of a big orchestra and tinny engineering seems calculated, Berry Gordy-style, to be the kind of song you struggled to pull in on your AM radio from some faraway station.
This is the the sort of record that gets away with cliches (for instance, hiking an octave on the final verse), so well as to argue that when Edison popularized the three-minute wax cylinder (and thus, the three-minute pop song), he liberated music as much as he restricted it.
“You and the Night and The Music” and “Leave Me Alone” replicate the elusive smooch, moments of “That’s How Heartaches are Made“, as Baby sings bar after bar over baroque runs of strings.
The album opens with a non-hit, “The Ballad of Bobby Dawn“, elaborate folk-R&B about Baby’s plans to bake a “blue steel file” into a cake, then bring it to the penitentiary in order to save her man from the gallows. Say WHAT??
“Doodlin‘” is a coy but unmistakeable endorsement of masturbation that must have lit up basement record players, although certainly not the airwaves. Again, I ask: WTF?!!
“Standing on the Pier” and the final half-dozen cuts, including the top-10 R&B hit “Handful of Memories” trade the Wall of Sound stunts for a jazzier, drum-driven feel. The tough-girl lyrics are less sprightly, but give Baby’s voice has more of a chance to “do its thing.” And “A Handful of Memories” is camp catnip.
Think of this album as a half-hour smile on your face.
A Bonus collection
Baby Washington And The Hearts – The J & S,Tuff and Zell’s Recordings 1957-1970