Monday, September 17, 2012

If the Shoe Don't Fit

"If the Shoe Don't Fit" is the first full-length song on the new Jackson 5 cd, Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls. Like many of the songs on the album, it was written and produced by The Corporation, and, like most songs by this team, it's got a catchy tune and clever lyrics that were especially tailored to the Jackson 5's youthfulness. According the to the liner notes, it was recorded 1970-71. It features Michael on the up-tempo lead vocals that are reminiscent of "My Little Baby," another Corporation song that was recorded around the same time and was first released on the Maybe Tomorrow LP in April 1971.

"When at first I took you in
We had a nice association
Your love was sweet as honey then
Even bees will vouch for that.
But now you've found I'm not your type
In a different situation
The love you give is cold as ice
Even snowmen feel the draft."

After Michael sings the first line in the next bit, Jermaine comes in with the counter-lead, as we've come to expect in songs from this era. Unfortunately, it sounds like his vocals were recorded down the hall -- there's an odd echo to them.

Michael: Baby, why should we carry it on?
Jermaine: If you really think you must, girl,
I'm telling you that you're wrong.

And here's where it gets really interesting. Instead of going back to Michael, or to Jackie, Tito sings the second counter-lead in his bass voice.
Tito: If my love don't fit your heart
Then I don't belong.

It's a pleasant surprise to hear Tito sing lead vocals here -- and he has another line before the second chorus as well.

Speaking of the chorus, we return to Michael for the lead vocals in what is without a doubt the best part of the song -- and the part that will stick in your head for days:

"Oh, darling, don't do me no favors
Don't feel obligated
Don't you do it now, baby
If the shoe don't fit, baby, don't force it on yourself
Oh, if the shoe don't fit, honey, don't force it on yourself."

While there are some nice harmonies in the song, and the chorus is definitely memorable, the verses in this song feel a bit unfinished, and it's easy to see why the song wasn't completed and released when the J5 had recorded similar songs in late 1970 / early 1971 that were so much stronger, like the afore-mentioned "My Little Baby" and the brilliant "It's Great to Be Here."  Still, Corporation-produced J5 failures are more interesting today than most album fillers that got released by other groups forty years ago. The shoe might not have quite fit back then but it feels just fine now.


  1. I'm so eager to have this album*. Thanks a lot for the blog post, although not having the album yet makes me feel a bit like only having the half of the jigsaw puzzle pieces.

    *It won't be released until October 15 in my country. And the MP3 version is only for US residents on Amazon :(

    Nice to have you back, and wonderful pics too!

  2. It's worth the wait! Can't wait to hear what you think of it.