15 January 2017, No. 230, The Supremes and The Four Tops, ‘Love The One You’re With (Todd Terje Edit)’

The self-titled debut LP from Stephen Stills I had went out in the great Illinois-to-Georgia purge, so if I want to punch up the original version of No. 230, I’m resigned to my digital transcription of 1970’s Stephen Stills. I haven’t yet refiled all the records I rescued at the last minute from the “get rid of” pile; the spreadsheets indicate that I have 1975’s Stills LP in a box waiting to be reshelved while the Manassas 2xLP was never in danger of being culled. Those two titles are, however, the only Stephen Stills solo efforts left in the stacks.

No matter. No. 230 is an edit of a cover anyway, “Love the One You’re With (Todd Terje Edit).” It’s apparent from the title the edit is Todd Terje’s, but I’m having a little trouble discerning the recording artist. (It occurs to me too that putting out apocryphal edits would be pretty easy.) I have this “Love the One You’re With” edit labeled as Diana Ross, but it’s never sounded quite like Diana Ross to me. Elsewhere it’s credited to Jean Terrell, who replaced Ross as lead singer of The Supremes in 1970, and in fact it looks like the original is The Supremes and The Four Tops from 1971’s Dynamite LP with Terrell on lead vocals. Dynamite is the third such collaborative LP from those two groups, and since it didn’t sell as well as its predecessors, it was also the last. The Four Tops left Motown the next year.

I like the flutes in “Love the One You’re With (Todd Terje Edit),” and I love the “ba-na-na-na” cello riff that follows each iteration of the lyric “love the one you’re with” in the third chorus. Speaking of “ba-na-na-na” parts, there are some grand and celebratory passages of nonlexical vocables here that illustrate also a technical thing I appreciate about this edit. The nonlexical vocables, unlike the cello’s “ba-na-na-na,” go more like “ya-duh da-duh da-da dah-dah,” and on subsequent listening I think perhaps that’s a piccolo rather than a flute playing along with the singers.

The technical thing that draws me further into the “ya-duh da-duh” sections (and this selection generally) is that Terje used a recording of the tune from vinyl for this edit. “Love the One You’re With” is the penultimate track on the Dynamite LP’s A side, and the edit exhibits as a consequence characteristic inner groove distortion and maybe even a little wear. I like these audio artifacts for nostalgic reasons and for a poke in the eye of the audiophiles. (Poke in the ear of the audiophiles?)

Most or all of the “analog warmth of vinyl” is an amalgam of a longing for artifacts/imperfections and the cool factor of owning a substantial, interesting-looking, and durable physical object. Plus there are lots of literal moving parts involved in playing records, and that gives audiophiles endless tweakable permeations to test, purchase, and sell along to their friends to fund the ever more expensive next purchase. CDs, in contrast, are small, simple to play, ephemeral, and the only part that dances around is a laser reading one zero one zero one zero one.

I share and encourage both the nostalgic motives to listen to vinyl and the audiophiles’ need to horse-trade their mechanical thoroughbreds. Plus records really are durable when well cared for. Let me show you some examples of disc rot from my CD collection.

Terje may or may not feel similarly. In this case the preservation of that old school sound was a matter of necessity not aesthetic choice; it seems there is no digital version of the Dynamite LP available. I forget sometimes that not everything made it onto CD and that those titles that didn’t make it can, as a consequence, be hard to find as paid/remastered digital downloads. I didn’t search very hard, but it appears the original Supremes/Four Tops “Love the One You’re With” cover hasn’t even shown up on a compilation, so there’s still no $0.99 download available anywhere, not even for ready money.

Don’t be angry, don’t be sad. Just give a listen and see if it matches the good times you’ve had.