Loleatta Holloway (with Bobby Womack): Baby It’s You
Two huge soul powerhouses team up on a Burt Bacharch classic
The Shirelles first recorded the Burt Bacharach tune “Baby It’s You” back in 1961. The Beatles were quick to add it to their debut LP, Please Please Me. At best, it was a gentle midtempo classic rock ‘n roll number that carried a gloss of doo-wop and youthful innocence. L.A. rock band Smith arranged the song with a bit of saucy rock in 1969, transforming the song into a gold-certified winner. That version may have been the inspiration behind Bobby Womack’s recreation of the song on Loleatta Holloway for her self-titled 1979 LP on Salsoul Records. The sassy Holloway, trained in Caravans gospel belting, raised the bar of the standard with her powerful phrasing. Inside the mix is Womack’s now-classic “sha-na-na-na” lines, something that reminds listeners of the sing-a-long chorus of “Harry Hippie.”
Holloway’s version, recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Studios, was never released as a single, but it’s a damn shame that it was hugely ignored. It wasn’t disco, but it certainly was a riveting performance. After exercising his backing vocals, Womack jumps into the front with Holloway, turning the soulful number into a powerhouse duet. “Let the music play” she sings as Womack lets loose his contagious ad-libbing (“I like to do it easy…let me do it easy”). Of all the duets he’s ever executed, this one may be his greatest – and possibly the most underrated of them all.
“Baby It’s You” can be heard on the 2014 reissue of Loleatta Holloway on Big Break Records (CDBBR0263).