Billy Eckstine – Had You Been Around – TMG 533
In 1965, Billy Eckstine’s career had passed its peak, but he was the biggest name to join Motown up to that point. From his roots in jazz and big bands, he had become a crooner in the 50s and made the transition to soul with his stint at Motown and later at Stax.
However, the record itself isn’t the last gasp of a fading artist, it’s actually rather good, if a little dated by the prevailing musical styles of 1965. Interestingly, Tamla Motown in the UK took the wise decision to relegate the US A side of this record and promoted the original, and in my view, better, B side for its UK release.
Although Billy Eckstine stayed with Motown for four more years, this was his only single release for the label.