Baby It’s You

Possibly my favorite musical period is the early sixties, just before The Beatles, say, 1960-63. The Golden Age of AM Radio. Because I hold my favorite songs from that time in such high esteem, I rarely like latter-day covers (most lose all the magic that was there; others are just putrid, like Grand Funk Railroad’s sledgehammer pummeling of “The Loco-Motion”). But for the first time in a while I heard the 1969 version of “Baby It’s You” by Smith – and damn, it’s good! They’ve turned it into a totally different song, but it’s almost as compelling as The Shirelles’ 1962 original. Shirley Owens’ plaintive vocal is a diary entry, set to throbbing reverb and echoplexed guitar (arranged by Burt Bachrach!); Gayle McCormick’s aching but self-assured delivery is face-to-face, over a punchy rhythm section and tough B-3 (produced by Del Shannon!). Lust and longing, served up perfectly for two very different times.

play Smith’s version on YouTube