One Song 3 Ways: Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby) #RomanticTuesday

A couple months ago, I played the “one song, x number of ways” game for #RomanticTuesday with a couple of famous duets. One was “Endless Love” and the other was “If This World Were Mine.” I’ve also done it with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” from earlier this year. Today, I’m doing it again, but with a song that isn’t quite as well known, but is a great song nonetheless.

Growing up, I associated today’s song with Aretha Franklin; mainly because it was her version that I became familiar with. However, it turned out that her version was a cover of a song that had already been a top 30 pop hit a year or two before Franklin touched it. The original performer of the song was Scottish singer Lulu (born Marie Lawrie in Glasgow). Lulu’s biggest hit was “To Sir With Love,” which hit #1 on the pop chart in 1967, and stayed there for five weeks. Looking for a new direction, she began work on an album called New Routes with Atlantic Records producers Arif Mardin, Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd. Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with the outstanding musicians there, the song represented a more mature sound for Lulu. Lulu often bemoaned the fact that of the songs recorded for New Routes, she felt that the producers couldn’t get the best out of the material that she was given; but noted that it was this song, that she brought to the sessions, that was the best thing they did together.

Franklin, working on her first album of new material since 1970’s Spirit In The Dark, covered the song as part of the sessions for her Young, Gifted And Black album. At this point in time, Franklin began adding covers of pop songs to her repertoire of soul originals and R&B covers that she had been doing for years. In an interesting coincidence, Franklin’s version of the tune was produced by the same trio that handled Lulu’s original. The song was released as the B-side to her massive hit “Rock Steady”; it gained enough attention to become a top ten R&B hit itself (but only managed to climb to #73 pop). This is the version that I grew to love, simply because I heard it first, and Franklin and the Sweet Inspirations on backup vocals give a great performance.

The song, penned by Jim Doris, has proven to be influential enough to have been covered by many different artists over the years. Either with or without the parenthetical addition to the title, it has been covered by artists as diverse as Oleta Adams, Buster Poindexter, Tina Arena, Rod McKuen, Bill Medley, Joe Tex, Irma Thomas and quite a few others. While fooling around looking for the previous two versions, I found a cover done by singer Morgan James. I have written about James before in this post, and I have been keeping an eye on her career. She recently released her version of Joni Mitchell’s classic Blue album, accompanied primarily with a piano and it’s lovely. Here she takes her powerhouse voice and offers her take on “Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby)”.

Truly, I can’t pick a winner here. There isn’t a bad performance in the bunch. Franklin’s is better known to me, while Lulu had a bigger pop hit with her version. James’ version has never been released anywhere other than on YouTube to my knowledge, but it isn’t exactly a poor performance by any means. I hope you enjoy this ode to being in love with someone so much that it makes you “crazy, baby”, and as always, thanks for listening and reading.

25 Replies to “One Song 3 Ways: Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby) #RomanticTuesday”

  1. I love this song. Almost brought a tear to my eye. 3 very distinct singers. Lulu’s version to me was very 60s poppy , Aretha’s was soulful but Morgan James resonated. She reminded me of Norah Jones crossed with Diana Krall. I never heard of her until today! Thanks for the intro, T. Wayne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Morgan James is an up and comer to keep your eye on. Besides the Joni Mitchell remake, she has her own debut album, Hunter, that was released a couple years ago. Prior to that she was in a few Broadway musicals, most notably Motown, where she played Teena Marie.

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad to introduce you to Ms. Morgan James.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “I’ll stage a ballet on a table top” or “we’ll blow a genie from a cigarette” – such great lines. Reminds me of: “We’ll skywrite our love through the heavens” What beautiful poetry in the song. I haven’t heard this song before and though I’d like to follow tradition and give the prize to Aretha, I think Morgan goes toe to toe with her. I’m not sure if I was watching the same version but seeing Morgan’s live performance with the communion she had going with the musicians just pulled me right into the song. Beautiful song Tracy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Chevvy! Yes, those are some great lyrics, and I’m like you. Because I knew Aretha’s version so well, I figured she was the default choice. But Morgan James brings something to that song when she sings itโ€”and I think those musicians playing with her help bring that out, much as you said.

      Ms. James can definitely singโ€”you don’t play Teena Marie in the Motown musical on Broadway if you can’t bring it vocallyโ€”so I’m definitely looking out for more music from her. I first heard her cover Prince’s “Call My Name” before her album Hunter came out a couple years ago. Reportedly Prince heard her version and told her how good it was.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like Morgan has earned her dues to be part of the family of up and coming musicians. I’ll take a look at her other contributions. Great post Tracy and as usual, you are a powerhouse of information – Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚ I love Aretha! Soulful … full … nothing quite like her sound .. .but, I tell you what, Miss Morgan here (who I’d never heard till now!) is pretty dam good! She’s got that earthy, soulful ‘boom’ ay … sends a shiver up yah spine ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Nice! Thankyou … great way to start the day ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome! I’m so glad I could introduce you to Morgan James. She has quite a few videos on YouTube, including some for her cover version of Joni Mitchell’s Blue album.

      You may want to listen to another song of hers I posted some time back, called “Say The Words.” The link is in the post, but I can put it here:

      Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed this post.

      Liked by 1 person

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