The third major Mary Wells release in recent months has arrived courtesy Ace Records’ Kent label. The One Who Really Loves You/Two Lovers combines Wells’ second and third Motown long-players on one remastered CD, with every track taken from the original mono masters for the first time in the compact disc era.
Though Wells’ time at Motown was relatively brief, her star burned brightest there. The first true superstar to emerge from Hitsville, she was also the first of the company’s artists to earn a Grammy Award nomination. Though she departed Berry Gordy’s empire in 1965 with dreams of Hollywood stardom at 20th Century Fox Records, she’ll always be remembered for a potent string of collaborations with songwriter/producer Smokey Robinson: “The One Who Really Loves You” (No. 8 Pop/No. 2 R&B), “You Beat Me to the Punch” (No. 9 Pop/No. 1 R&B), “Two Lovers” (No. 7 Pop/No. 1 R&B) and a little song called “My Guy” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 R&B). “The One Who Really Loved You” opened the 1962 album of the same name, and Smokey also provided two other songs for the 10-track platter: “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right” and the aforementioned “You Beat Me to the Punch.” The effervescent album was cobbled together from sessions dating back as far as 1961, and followed the typical Motown album template of 10 songs drawn from recent singles plus covers of Jobete (Motown’s publishing arm) copyrights. The album boasts material written by Berry Gordy (“She Don’t Love You”), William “Mickey” Stevenson (“Strange Love,” “You’re My Desire”) and Brian Holland (“I’ve Got a Notion”) as well as Wells herself (“Drifting Love”). “You Beat Me to the Punch” was the most recent title included on the album, recorded not long after the release of “The One Who Really Loves You.”
After the jump: much more, including the track listing and order link!
The One Who Really Loves You was likely issued in June 1962; just months later in October, Wells scored another smash hit with Smokey’s “Two Lovers.” It was inevitable that an album would be assembled around the song, and sure enough, Two Lovers and Other Great Hits appeared in stores in January 1963. The material on Two Lovers, unlike that of the previous album, was almost all freshly recorded. With the exception of the cover of Mable John’s 1961 single “No Love,” every track on Two Lovers was recorded after “The One Who Really Loves You.” In addition to his clever and sensual title track, Robinson also provided Wells with “Laughing Boy” (No. 6 R&B/No. 15 Pop) and “Operator.” Marvin Gaye, Mickey Stevenson and Clarence Paul’s “My 2 Arms – U = Tears” was tapped, as was the Johnny Mercer standard “Goody Goody” and Brook Benton’s “Looking Back.”
Two Lovers and Other Great Hits became the first Motown LP to reach the charts, with a peak of # 49. Like The One Who Really Loves You, the original album was issued in mono only. In 1965, the album masters were remixed for stereo but not released as an LP. The stereo tracks were released on CD in 1986 and again in 1992, but Kent’s CD marks the first legitimate release of the mono tracks on compact disc. They have been remastered by Nick Robbins. Keith Hughes has written a detailed new essay for the full-color booklet.
The Kent two-fer follows the label’s excavations of prime Motor City material from artists including The Spinners, The Contours, Eddie Holland and Marv Johnson. It makes an ideal companion to Hip-o Select’s round-up of all of Wells’ vaulted Motown tracks entitled Something New; like that impressive collection, The One Who Really Loves You/Two Lovers and Other Great Hits is available in stores now. You can order online below!
- The One Who Really Loves You
- Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
- You Beat Me to the Punch
- I’ve Got a Notion
- The Day Will Come
- Strange Love
- You’re My Desire
- I’ll Still Be Around
- She Don’t Love You
- Drifting Love
- Two Lovers
- Guess Who
- My 2 Arms – U = Tears
- Goody Goody
- Stop Right Here
- Laughing Boy
- Looking Back
- (I Guess There’s) No Love
- Was It Worth It
Tracks 1-10 from The One Who Really Loves You, Motown LP MT 605, 1962
Tracks 11-20 from Two Lovers and Other Great Hits, Motown LP MT 607, 1963