Tammi Terrell “My Heart” (1966 Unreleased, From Cellarful of Motown Volume 2, 2005)
It was a little hard to think of a choice for celebrating Tammi Terrell’s 70th Birthday. Surprisingly, although she didn’t have a super huge Solo catalog like a number of her contemporaries, she did record for a healthy portion of the 1960s in a diverse number of styles for a number of labels. Through and Through, even through some name changes, she was always distinctively Tammi on all of those recordings, whether helmed by Burt Bacharach, James Brown or Holland-Dozier-Holland.
However we do sit here not only celebrating her birth, but also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of her signing to Motown Records on this day in 1965. In the scheme of things her Motown Solo output are some of the most overlooked efforts in the late 60’s Motown canon. Often these efforts weren’t clinical examples of the Motown Sound, and decidedly played to the fact that, by the time she reached Motown, she was a polished veteran with 5 years worth of recording experience, and probably closer to 8 years performing experience.
Compared to Motown contemporaries closer to her own age, she brought a healthy sensuality and world weary knowledge along her ability to infect her performances with a heightened level of joy. So I picked what for me is my favorite cover that she handled. Light years away from the absolutely mournful original take by Carolyn Crawford two years before, Tammi breathes nuance and shading into the confusion, the lost pleasure and the hope of return of a former flame that didn’t exist in the first airing of this song.
A definite unsung legend, Happy Birthday Tammi Terrell.