Saturday, 12 March 2011

I don't know where he went, but he left in a hurry Sayin' something about a mission of mercy.....

“Take the ‘L’ Out of Lover”, “Only the Lonely”, and “Mission of Mercy” The Motels ‘All 4 One’ (1982)

There was a desperation about the way Martha Davis sang. The songs were troubled and you knew there was something up. Martha wrote most of the Motels songs actually. When a singer feels deeply about a song it is felt by the listener – we know somebody-done-somebody-wrong in Martha’s case from the minute she opens her mouth. No one would really believe that you are singing the blues if you don’t have the blues.......Martha’s hurtin’ is genuine.

Martha looks sultry, pouty and well, quite stoned on the inner sleeve of the album “All 4 One” This may be partly due to the fact that they had to share rehearsal space with the Go-Go’s in the early days.  Take the L and Only the Lonely were more pop-friendly than the more rockin' “Mission of Mercy” which is my favourite song on the album.

With a few different line-ups before they had any real success it was not till the Motels enlisted the producer Val Garay1 for this, their third album that they really hit the big time. The release of this album coincided with the introduction of MTV, so two videos were made, one for “Take the L”, and one for “Only the Lonely” some of the very first viewed by this new curious TV audience. .

Their next album in 1983 entitled “Little Robbers” (still Val Garay produced) spawned the hit “Suddenly Last Summer”. My favourite off this album is the title track – 'Little Robbers'. Other more obscure Motels songs I like are “Icy Red” (from Shock, their last album), and "Forever Mine” off their second album - great songs from this ‘So L.A.’ band.

1) Val Garay produced Kim Carnes, Bonny Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and Ringo Starr to name a few.

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