Winston Groovy – Please Don’t Make Me Cry

Example

Example

Winston Groovy

Example

Listen – Winston Groovy – Please Don’t Make me Cry – MP3″

Greetings all.

We return to Part 2 of the Funky16Corners Jamaican Trip with a tune that might very well be familiar – especially of you’ve ever owned a copy of UB40s ‘Labour Of Love’.
Oddly enough, though I listened to UB40 (the 1980-1983 comp was a fave back in the day), I didn’t hear their version of Winston Groovy’s ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry’ until after I heard the OG.
As I related in Monday’s post, my first exposure to ska and reggae was via the Two Tone scene, and then more deeply through the Mods in my acquaintance. I’d heard covers of Jamaican tracks in the 70s (by Taj Mahal and the Clash among others) it wasn’t until I started to groove on the second wave of ska, and dug deeply enough to discover how many of those records were covers that my interest in Jamaican sounds went to the next level.
My personal “Rosetta Stone” was the first volume of the Trojan ’20 Reggae Classics’ anthology series, which included tracks by the Harry J All Stars, Slickers, Melodians, Maytals, Pioneers and Dandy Livingstone among many others. As a result I heard ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry’ in the original version long before I heard the cover*.
Anyway…
Winston Groovy – born Winston Tucker in 1946 – moved to the UK in the early 60s, where he worked with Laurel Aitken among others. He recorded for Pama, and then in the early 70s moved on to Trojan, for whom he recorded ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry’ in 1974.
The tune – with its instantly recognizable keyboard opening – was has a wonderful, percolating reggae beat and of course Groovy’s soulful vocal. The record was his biggest hit and though he had continued chart success through the 70s and 80s, the UB40 cover of ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry’ gave him fame with a much larger audience. He eventually re-recorded the song with UB40 for a 1998 LP.
It behooves me to mention that amongst reggae fans, UB40 doesn’t exactly have a stellar rep (which I think is somewhat unfair). There are those who would avert their gaze in disgust, noses upturned with accusations of carpetbagging and slickery (and who among us needs to hear ‘Red Red Wine’ again?), I’d remind them that UB40 (a band who’s early stuff I genuinely like) did a lot to popularize songs from the heyday of ska and rock steady. They certainly weren’t the first (mostly) white artists to dip into those sounds. You can look back as far as Georgie Fame’s early 60s blue beat experiments (like his covers of Prince Buster’s ‘Madness’ and Eric Morris’ ‘Humpty Dumpty’), right on through to the Specials (who also borrowed liberally from the Prince Buster catalog, as we shall see on Friday), Madness (same there), Paul Young, the aforementioned Clash who made quite the sideline for themselves covering reggae material and others.
Certainly, those who dig the decidedly grittier sounds of the original versions of these songs might find UB40’s ‘Labour of Love’ to be somewhat lightweight, but I can guarantee you lots of folks used that album as a gateway to the original material, much as I have with other cover material my entire life.
Either way, I hope you dig the original (whether you’re familiar with the cover or not), and I’ll be back on Friday with a tune that might surprise you.
Peace
Larry

*For folks in the UK this may seem chronologically askew as Labour of Love came out before the comp I mentioned. However, my exposure to UB40 was via ‘I’ve Got Mine’ and ‘Sing Our Own Song’, both of which got college radio airplay over on this side of the pond. Though their version of ‘Please Don’t MakeMe Cry’ was a hit in the UK I didn’t get to hear it until years later.

PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a new mix of flying saucer-related sounds!

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6 Responses to “Winston Groovy – Please Don’t Make Me Cry”

  1. Duncan Walls Says:

    Beisdes the Georgie Fame blu-beat excursions there was ALSO a VERY strong presence in the UK AND US by the Spencer Davis Group with their first worldwide hits ‘Keep On Running’ and ‘Somebody Help Me’, both written and previously recorded by fellow Island recoding srtist, Jackie Edwards (now THERE’S a overview and retrospective I’d LOVE to see someone do!). I used to have the Island single of ‘Keep On Running’ by JE and it was great! The SDG did a GREAT job on both (before their biggest hits, their originals ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ and “I’m A Man’) and I must admit to NOT discovering for a good fifteen years that they were redos of ska originals. I suggested them to a couple of Ska bands and was met both times with a “Hunh?” I also think they (and many other Ska/Blu-Beat and Reggae songs would translate well to Zydeco with their similar two step beat.

    I remember noticing also, post Toots & Maytals version of ‘Country Roads (Take Me Home)’ and one other great Island Toots 12″ single (which I CANNOT for the life of me remember the title of) that featured PEDAL STEEL GUITAR that Reggae was in fact, ‘Country’ Music from a different country.

  2. Duncan Walls Says:

    Ooops…also forgot to mention The Beatles (hunh?) and their take on Ska/Blu-Beat ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’. There’s a couple different versions of that around that let you see the evolution of their version. Smart cookies, they were, and certainly aware of what was going on underground in Swinging London of yore.
    We here in the states were NOT as tuned in to the West Indian tip as Merry Olde England was, until the 70s with Dave & Ansel Collins “Double Barrel” , Desmond Dekker’s ‘Israelites’ , Johnny Nash’s two JAD singles ‘Hold Me Tight’ and ‘You Got Soul’. Yeah, I found Prince Buster’s ‘Ten Commandments’ on US Phillips (and some Blues Busters 45s here and there) but I never heard The Prince until I found those 45s many years later. Maybe he got airplay SOMEWHERE, but it wasn’t up north! Maybe “Mama, Look-a Boo Boo” by King Flash & The Calypso Carnival on Columbia (much rawer & better than the Harry Belafonte cover most folks know IMHO) back in the fifties. and Belafonte styled Calypso if you were lucky. In the last 20 years as everybody got rid of their vinyl I started finding LPs that folks had picked up on vacation in the Caribbean. THAT has proved to be lots of fun discovering Steel Drum, Calypso, Mento, etc that has filtered down. Most of it is in excellent shape. Probably folks caved in to persistent ‘marketing’ by the hotel performers, bought their records (feeling sorry for them, thinking they’d give them away when they got home as ‘joke’ gifts or whatever) and some how they survived in great shape to be found by us crazy people.

  3. funky16corners Says:

    Duncan
    Thanks for the additional info. I don’t why I didn’t mention the Spencer Davis Group. I believe Prince Buster’s ‘Ten Commandments’ hit the R&B charts in the US. I even found (and posted) and “answer” record a few months back (by Daddy Kae & Yvonne on the Philadelphia label Fairmount. ‘Obla Di Obla Da’ is another great example that I don’t usually think of. Another great one is ‘My Boy Lollipop’ by Millie Small.
    I love the US ‘Funky Kingston’ LP by Toots and the Maytals, with the cover of ‘Country Roads’ and ‘Louie Louie’.
    L

  4. maxwell Says:

    This is an ill track. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Mr. Inyang Says:

    I am looking Winston Groovy (Tucker) CDs including his centimental album, and Ginger Williams CDs and how can I order them if they are available.
    Thank you,

  6. Pete Downs Says:

    Winston Groovy’s first version of this song was released in 1970 on Eddy Grant’s Torpedo label.

    The 1974 Trojan version was also released on the Harry J label.

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