Saturday 9 December 2023

Nothing But A Heartache

Trust me #63
Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations

There used to be a record shop in St Andrews on South Street that I think was called Unknown Pleasures. This was back in the 90's. I've been googling to try and check the name, but I'm struggling to get confirmation, mainly due to the fact that there was an Unknown Pleasures record shop in Edinburgh for many a year.

Anyway, on one visit , way back in the 90's, I raided the soul section and bought a number of 7-inch singles, mostly priced at only a pound or two. I might have stretched to three or four pounds for a couple of them.

Around this time (1997 I think) I was really enjoying buying old Motown and Northern Soul compilation albums. For a while I wondered if there were any bad soul tunes! Everything seemed to be outstanding!

You had floaters, stompers and floorshakers that could be dreamy, euphoric and always soulful - defiance in heartbreak, or full of love and hope. Vital.  

One of the singles I bought was Nothing But A Heartache b/w Stronger Than Her Love by The Flirtations. Both songs blew me away. 

Stronger Than Her Love, the b-side, developed as it went on, the backing vocals seemed just as important as the lead - and that really soared! Each vocal seemed to urge the other on. 

A driving beat kicks things in and there is that brilliant defiance from the off.

Stronger than her love
My love is stronger than her love

The bridge to the chorus really builds things up and the lead vocal over the glorious backing singers (that are really a second lead) is sublime.

By the time we hit the 2-minute mark, The Flirtations and the outrageous band and arrangement that are backing them are absolutely flying. Just listen to the oooohhs underpinning the verse, the repetition of the first two lines of the bridge, then the heavenly aaahhhh's that lead to the chorus. And then Lestine Johnson and sisters Ernestine, Shirley and Betty Pearce are on fire for that chorus. The lead vocal over the top is spine tinglingly good.

Out of sight, out of mind
Is what a wise girl would say
Another girl, would never allow
You to break her heart this way

But darling I love you
I truly, truly love you
And a fool such as I
Will love you until I die
Darling, darling take this love of mine

WOW! Simply sensational, all delivered in just 2 minutes 56 seconds!

As for the a-side, it's one of the most powerful songs I know of. The crashing chords at the start, the stomping beat and then into a heartfelt vocal from the bottom of the heart.

Nothing but a heartache everyday
Nothing but a teardrop all of the way
Loving a bad guy is such a sin
He's got me, oh why can't I get him

The second verse starts with the same first two lines, then a slighty change for the third line - it's the one situation that I just can't win and then we go into the chorus, or is it a break/middle 8? Because really, it's the ferocious verses that are a chorus ... the whole song is!

I got a lot of those heartaches
I got a lot of those teardrops
All of the way
Nothing but a heartache every day

The last line is delivered with immense energy, furiously and then we're off again, blitzing through another verse, another break, another verse ... the drumming is sensational, the vocals sublime, the horns are just about keeping up and everything just sounds vital. The energy leaps out of the recording.

Nothing But A Heartache quickly became a real favourite of mine. I remember playing it to my friend Reddy. Back in the good old days you couldn't just WhatsApp someone a link. You had to go searching for songs and take a chance on records. There was a real joy in finding and owning a copy a song like this.

Nothing But A Heartache is added to my Trust Me playlist; search for Everything Flows - Trust Me on Spotify , or CLICK HERE Check below for all previous blogs in my Trust Me series.

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by Love Affair
27. Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke
28. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
29. Shaky Ground by Sneeze
29. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells
30. I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor
31. The State We're In by The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton
32. Sunshine After The Rain by Ellie Greenwich
33. Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem
34. Mondo 77 by Looper
35. Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton
36. Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats
37. How High by The Charlatans
38. I Can't Let Go by Evie Sands
39. Pop Song 89 by R.E.M.
40. Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
41. There She Goes by The Las
42. We're Going To Be Friends by White Stripes
43. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo
44. Sister Rena by Lomond Campbell
45. Revolution by The Beatles
46. Lazarus by The Boo Radleys
47. Wrote For Luck by Happy Mondays
48. American Trilogy by The Delgados
49. Loser by Beck 
50. Silent Sigh by Badly Drawn Boy
51. Comedy by Shack
52. Take The Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven
53. Freakscene by Dinosaur Jr
54. Thank You For Being You by The Pastels
55. I Think I'm In Love by Spiritualized
56. Chestnut Mare by The Byrds
57. Cannonball by The Breeders
58. Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
59. You Make Me Weak At The Knees by Electrelane
60. Lucky by Radiohead
61. Strange Currencies by R.E.M.
61. I Am The Cosmos by Chris Bell
62. Like A Ship (Without A Sail) by Pastor TL Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir

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