Servin’ Up Some Soul

Mary Wells hit it big in 1964 with “My Guy,” which was written for her by Smokey Robinson.  She’s got some other good early tunes, like “Can’t You See,” that straddle that early 60s line between swinging R&B and girl-group pop.  But later in her career, in 1968, Wells put out the album Servin’ Up Some Soul, which dispensed with her youthful, innocent persona and embraced a tougher, more grown-up approach.  Servin’ Up Some Soul is a short, sharp record that speeds along with confident vocals from Wells and tangy flurries of guitar.  I could do without another version of “Sunny” — why does everyone feel the need to record that song — but that’s my only complaint.  For the album’s hit, “The Doctor,” Wells takes on a sultry saunter (it turned out to be the last time she cracked the top 100).  There aren’t many ballads, but Wells excels on “Two Lover’s History,” which nods in the direction of sweet funk.


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