Sama reviews two versions of a soul 45 called “Somebody Please”. Released in 1969, Billy Keene’s rendition is a mid-tempo, headnodding groove with great, popping drums and the occasional JB-like screams. The song is fun and danceable, and you can ignore the hurting lyrics if you wanted.
On the other hand, The Vanguard interpretation of the song is slow and lush, and really gets to your heart. Unlike Keene, The Vanguards have the advantage of having strong, almost spooky, backing vocals that really add to their version’s feeling of loss and anguish. The singer-switch near the end of the song really captures that desolate feeling.
“Somebody Please" is an example of great song writing interpreted differently, and in the same year to boot.
Take a listen to Sama's favorite picks for alternative covers of "Hey Joe", "Bang Bang", and "Summertime".