Band members Related acts
- Yvonne Hodges -- vocals
- none known
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: You Never Wanted Me
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: cut lower right corner
Catalog ID: SOLD5760
Price: SOLD $150.00
So here's another Guinness tax scam release that seems to have gone largely unnoticed. As far as I can tell there isn't a single review of this one anywhere on the web ...
In typical tax scam fashion, there's literally no bibliographical or performance info to be found on the album. The assumption (perhaps incorrect) is that the singer was actually Yvonne Hodges, but who knows ... One of the songs carried a Hodges credit and I know that there was/is a Yvonne Hodges who in the mid 1970s worked as a backup singer supporting the likes of Millie Jackson. Same one? Beats me. Looking at the song titles and some of the writing credits, I had modest hopes for 1977's "You Never Wanted Me". Lots of female backing singers have recorded their own albums and I've heard a couple that were quite good and perhaps this would fall in that category. Well, let me tell you this record was one big mess. Hodges certainly had some talent, but whenever she tried to push it she sounded like a cat caught in a vice. On most of these songs she bounced all over the pitch range, frequently becoming screechy beyond belief. Sticking with a melody was also a major challenge. And like many tax scam albums, at least two of the songs didn't even sound like Hodges efforts - the funky 'Jigsaw Puzzle ' featured a male trio, while the country tinged 'Feelin' That Glow ' sounded nothing like Hodges.
Never Wanted Me" track listing:
1.) Heavy Thing To Do (Yvonne Hodges - Holmes) - rating: ** stars
Recalling something out of the mid-1970s Philadelphia International catalog 'Heavy Things To Do' was quite commercial. Nice melody and the male backing singers were as good as The Pips. Unfortunately the song showcased some of Hodges' worst tendencies, including those screechy high notes.
-2.) Never Would Say (Holmes - Jarrett) - rating: ** stars
The track listing shows this one as 'Never Would Say', but the chorus refrain is 'You Never Wanted Me' ... Whatever. This one was also quite commercial with a strong melody, nice arrangement. Naturally Hodges literally screamed her way through this one. Ouch.
3.) Jigsaw Puzzle (Jarrett) - rating: **** stars
Just when you thought there was no hope for this one, 'Jigsaw Puzzle' appeared. This was a nifty slice of funk with a fantastic performance; the catch being Hodges didn't handle lead vocals - an anonymous male trio were featured, though they literally kicked the crap out of the song.
-4.) Please Pardon Me (You Do Remind Me of a Friend) (Gordon - Russell) - rating: ** stars
To be fair, Hodges showed flashes of talent throughout the album. 'Please Pardon Me (You Do Remind Me of a Friend)' was a perfect example. Nice up tempo song and through the first part of track she was actually pretty good, but then she cut loose, mistaking wild-assed shrieking for a sign of vocal power.
5.) Feelin' That Glow (McDaniels - Rusco - Pendarius - Laws) - rating: *** stars
'Feelin' That Glow' was quite unlike anything else on side one, making me wonder if it was by the same singer (not unheard of on tax scam releases). The song itself almost had a country vibe and the performance was low keyed and quite attractive.
Natalie Cole had the big hit with 'This Will Be' and while this arrangement wasn't markedly different, the vocals were nowhere near as good as Cole's take. They somehow managed to take what was a killer chorus and make it unappealing.
2.) Games People Play (Jefferson - Hawes - Simmons) - rating: ** stars
The cover of 'Games People Play' was another curiosity in that Hodges was relegated to a supporting role with an anonymous male vocal group taking the lead. Their performance wasn't nearly as good as The Spinners, but was at least listenable.
3.) Money (E. McDaniels) - rating: *** stars
Opening with a tasty guitar solo and some nice male backing vocals, 'Money' looked like it was going to go down in flames, but for some reason Hodges jagged performance didn't destroy the song.
4.) Mr. DJ (Five for the DJ) (Pundit) - rating: ** stars
Too bad you couldn't say the same thing about 'Mr. DJ (Five for the DJ)'. Another song that had some commercial potential but was sunk by a shrill and grating performance. Aretha would have killed on this one.
5.) Do It Any Way You Wanna (Leon Huff) - rating: ** stars
Leon Huff's 'Do It Any Way You Wanna' was a great song and you'd really have to go the extra mile to mess it up. To be honest, this sounded like a raw and incomplete demo. The instrumental track was fine, but the vocals were little more than a guide demo and Hodges' performance was effectively overshadowed by an anonymous and far better male singer.
So bottom line is this one's rare, though not the lost soul classic I'd hoped to hear.
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