It’s rare that I say I have a favorite anything. Fickle Gemini and all. But I do, about 75% of the time say I do have a favorite singer, and that’s none other than Kim Weston. Born 76 years ago today as Agatha Nathalia Weston in Detroit’s “Black Bottom” Kim celebrates not only her birthday but multiple decades of performance as a singer, actress and Detroit activist for the arts.
She’s not one of the A-name Motown legends due to extensive label politics. Despite a splendid set of singles released and having the Artist & Repertoire Director on her side, she only managed 3 solo chart entries in her time at the label from her beginnings with The Wright Specials in 1961 through early 1967. By the time her duet with Marvin Gaye “It Takes Two” was an international hit, she had moved on to MGM records with husband Mickey Stevenson for more direct access to income and more artistic freedom.
Today I flash back to her royal declaration that got sidelined. “A Little More Love” is the epic, grandiose beat ballad of the type that would soon rack up Dusty Springfield a few hits, and was an ample display for Kim Weston’s vocal acting ability. Confident, Cocksure and Commanding, its a record that finds delight in dulcet tones as well as damning ones.
It also had the great misfortune to be released the 2nd week of “Baby Love” being in the #1 spot and a certain Nella Dodds releasing a cover of “Come See About Me.” Motown still being a rather small label, despite the success of 3 #1 Pop hits that year, couldn’t afford to push a then still struggling for prominence Kim Weston and secure yet another victory for their new darlings (and cash cows) The Supremes.
From all accounts, the single was withdrawn in the states to help boister the progress towards The Supremes 3rd out 5 #1’s in a row, even as Kim Weston embarked on the first full fledged tour of the UK any Motown artist would take. Our first link to the song is Kim actually lip syncing the single edit on Ready, Steady, Go! during that tour, where the song met with positive reaction and stayed in circulation. The second link further down is the unreleased at the time Stereo edit that’s about 30 seconds longer with an alternate lead vocal. Nonetheless, “A Little More Love” is one of the most expensive and rare 45 rpm singles on the Motown collectors market today.
Despite all of the lack of attention, Kim Weston blessed us with a continuous supply of radiance only few artists can generate. Her sunshine makes her my absolute favorite most of the time, so here’s well wishes overdue for all of the love she’s given the world. In these last hours of SagittariYes, we celebrate one of the best.
Happy Birthday, Kim Weston