The Four Tops' version of Walk Away Renee: proto-disco?

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goldwax
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The Four Tops' version of Walk Away Renee: proto-disco?

Postby goldwax » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:53 am

In a version that easily shreds the original, Levi Stubbs reins himself in to deliver this wimp-rock classic with a minimum of embellishment. Even still, the band has to play hard as <profanity> to even come close to matching him. Still, he's damn near anonymous. The beat is stiff even for a Motown track, and the backing vocals and strings both soar in the background.

Given that disco, at it's lowest common denominator, was all about a stiff beat, soaring strings and backing vocals, anonymous leads, and whitebread melodies, doesn't this count as perhaps the first proto-disco track? Sure sounds like it.

(Disclaimer: I'm not knocking disco or this track, which, though pedestrian by the Four Tops' standards, is still mighty fine.)

Big Jimbo
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Re: The Four Tops' version of Walk Away Renee: proto-disco?

Postby Big Jimbo » Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:24 am

[quote="goldwax"]

In the first proto-disco track? Sure sounds like it.

quote]

I'd say it's a latter version of pre-proto-disco. No, Levi Stubbs has one of the greatest voices ever. Have you seen Little Shop of Horrors and Levi is the voice of Audrey II the killer flower? When he says Feed me Seymore! he sounds hungry.

Ferociouswerewolf
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Postby Ferociouswerewolf » Sat Jul 12, 2003 6:46 am

4 Tops Walk Away Rennie is a stone great record but I agree it's Levi's vocals that make it so.

I have the original wimpy version on a compilation somewhere and it's totally cringeworthy. On the other hand if Levi had been singing...

Not sure about the proto-disco thing. Motown had many faults but I don't want to blame them for a warcrime such as inventing disco.

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Postby River Man » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:19 am

For the record (no pun intended) I'm still looking for a cd copy of the Four Tops album 'Soul Spin' which contains the finest version of 'This Guys in Love with you' I've ever heard. I have it on vinyl but no deck at present, damn I miss it.

goldwax
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Re: The Four Tops' version of Walk Away Renee: proto-disco?

Postby goldwax » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:03 pm

Big Jimbo wrote:
goldwax wrote:
In the first proto-disco track? Sure sounds like it.

quote]

I'd say it's a latter version of pre-proto-disco. No, Levi Stubbs has one of the greatest voices ever. Have you seen Little Shop of Horrors and Levi is the voice of Audrey II the killer flower? When he says Feed me Seymore! he sounds hungry.


I had no idea that was Levi. Very cool.


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