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This week’s pick: “Getting Mighty Crowded,” originally released as the B-side of “High Fidelity”
Gary Stewart: Yes, misery loves company, but it also needs a break. So after spending the last few weeks using our Costello Song of the Week feature to talk up deep, dark, downer songs (OK, I get the contradictions in that sentence), it’s time to turn the beat around with this, a song that was inexplicably left off Get Happy!! and relegated to the B-side of “High Fidelity.”
Hopefully, you’ll get caught up in this high-speed track, a double-time soul review that mingles with early ’80s ska revival. Okay, lyrically it’s not that upbeat—the singer’s fed up with a mate’s unfaithful ways and is going to do something about it—but why get stuck on technicalities with something this much fun?
“Getting Mighty Crowded” was originally written by Van McCoy, who wrote and produced numerous soul and dance sides and gave us “The Hustle,” the record that arguably started the disco craze. The original version by Betty Everett is a mid-tempo Motownish (think early Supremes/Martha and The Vandellas) number, which the Attractions turn into a full-on party, giving us a record that is insanely danceable without skimping on the wronged lover thing in the process. If “High Fidelity” and “Stop in the Name of Love” had a baby, it might sound like this.
David Gorman: It has been a bit heavy around here lately. So, yeah, just turn this thing up and let it out. Play this piss-off-your-neighbors loud and remember what it felt like to just jam on a record and dance around when (or like) nobody’s watching. This 100% exuberant groove sounds like (and probably is) what happens when the tightest rock combo of their day reminds themselves how much fun playing in a band is supposed to be. Garage soul? I’ll take it.
So, no, not gonna dig into the lyrics, not gonna draw lines between this cover and that original, or go on about whether and where Costello made a perfect soul record. But I will ask you to pay some attention to what’s going on behind the drum kit, which, admittedly, is pretty hard not to pay attention to. But holy crap. That guy can play.
And, yeah, if you dig this, there’s that whole Get Happy!! album to check out. But assuming you’ve beaten us to that punch, allow me to recommend The Sportsmen, a similarly souled-out throwdown by Chris Von Sneidern, who, really, you should already be a fan of. But that’s another post for another day . . .