Martha & The Vandellas – 1966 – Watchout!
Fabulous album which really shows Martha’s growth as a singer and a music stylist .The Vandellas Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly were given some catchy lines the background.
Watchout! was the fourth studio album and fifth album overall by Martha and the Vandellas, released on the Gordy (Motown) label in 1966. The album featured the hit singles, “I’m Ready for Love” and “Jimmy Mack” and the ballad single, “What Am I Gonna Do Without Your Love?“. This was one of the last albums by the girls to feature songs from Holland, Dozier, Holland, who the following year would leave Motown, as was with William “Mickey” Stevenson, the man who helped put the group on the musical map. The title of the album “Watchout!” was derived from a song featured on the flip-side of their hit single “My Baby Loves Me” (released earlier in 1966) entitled “Never Leave Your Baby’s Side” (never released on an album). That song featured a chorus from the Vandellas which warned to “Watchout!” for “other girls” who could steal your man.
A1 I’m Ready For Love 2:52
A2 One Way Out 2:25
A3 Jimmy Mack 2:44
A4 Let This Day Be 2:31
A5 Keep It Up 2:53
A6 Happiness Is Guaranteed 2:24
B1 I’ll Follow Up 2:30
B2 No More Tearstained Make Up 2:19
B3 Go Ahead And Laugh 2:47
B4 What Am I Going To Do Without Your Love 2:50
B5 Tell Me I’ll Never Be Alone 2:31
B6 He Doesn’t Love Her Anymore 2:58
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder
It’s usually presented as a given that, separated from the work of the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, Martha & the Vandellas were somewhat at sea. But H-D-H only had three songs on Watchout! — albeit two of which were the hits that drove the album’s sales — and the group came off better than one could have hoped on the rest of the record. As a follow-up to Dance Party, Watchout! is usually thought of as less successful, with the H-D-H songs “Jimmy Mack” and “I’m Ready for Love” dominating. It’s a little more complicated than that, however, because Watchout! is actually a very different kind of album, with ballads outnumbering the dance numbers. It’s a chance to immerse oneself in the sensitive, reflective side of Martha & the Vandellas, and a very beautiful record, if not as exciting as its predecessor.
Oh, to be sure, “Let This Day Be” isn’t doing much more than filling up track space, but the rest is misplaced treasure from the Motown vaults, well worth hearing, and more than once. Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “One Way Out” is similar to their earlier “Nowhere to Run” (and was later a single B-side), and the wrenchingly emotive “Keep It Up” (a forgotten Smokey Robinson number) shows off a more delicate side to the group’s sound that was often overlooked. “Happiness Is Guaranteed” is the kind of anthemic ballad, with a big central melody, that one suspects was rejected for the Supremes; Martha Reeves and company do a wonderful job with it, even though it needed the more delicate lead vocal attentions of Diana Ross to have gotten heard more widely. “I’ll Follow You“, co-authored by ex-Moonglows leader Harvey Fuqua, is so sweet in its sensibilities beneath a driving beat that it’s like listening to two songs in one (both of them very good). “Tell Me I’ll Never Be Alone” is another oft-overlooked gem, and then there’s the lost single off this album, “No More Tearstained Make Up“, a slow, haunting, beautiful piece of female heartache set to music.