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My Favorite Record #5 | Sheila B
My Favorite Record #5

Connie Stevens: Tick Tock (Bell Records, 1970)

Kudos to the A&R man who paired Connie Stevens with Philly “sweet soul” producer, Thom Bell. The single may have done little to revive Connie’s flailing music career, but A-side “Keeps Growing Strong” would become a million-seller for the Stylistics and a proud moment in Philadelphia’s musical history. Thom Bell and co-writer Linda Greer had written “Keeps Growing Strong” specifically for Connie. When they delivered it to Bell Records with the title “Betcha By Golly Wow,” the label balked, complaining that the title sounded too similar to Connie’s early novelty hit “Kookie Kookie Lend Me Your Comb.” Despite Thom Bell’s objections, the label went with “Keeps Growing Strong.” When the record tanked, Thom Bell took it to the Stylistics, whose cover version of “Betcha By Golly Now” has pretty much erased all memory of the original. “Tick Tock” doesn’t have nearly as exciting a story, but this little-known B-side has earned its rightful spot on the Northern Soul scene. Connie Stevens couldn’t be further from a soul singer, but somehow her vanilla voice blends beautifully with Thom Bell’s lush pop-soul arrangements. If only the storming instrumental outro didn’t have to fade so quickly. This is one record that remains permanently in my DJ box since I finally scored it on ebay after a 10-year search!

For more information on Connie Stevens, Thom Bell, and the battle over “Keeps Growing Strong” versus “Betcha By Golly Wow,” check out this fascinating piece. http://souljoneswords.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/betcha-by-golly-wow-exclusive-thom-bell.html

 

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