I was on the phone yesterday doing an interview with a notable Bumbershoot artist (I don't want to say which one) and somehow, we ended up talking about old records, '60s soul, and eventually Motown. One of the first names this mystery artist brought up yesterday was the work of Smokey Robinson -- the Detroit-bred crooner whose voice was smoother than butter. And while most people think of Robinson for his iconic work with the Miracles, it's a lesser known fact that Robinson was one of the main in-house songwriters behind a slew of Motown hits for groups other than his own. The Temptations, the Four Tops, the Contours, Marvin Gaye and plenty of other Motown artists recorded songs that he wrote. Sometimes he got credit for it, other times he didn't.
One of my favorite Robinson penned jams is "Don't Mess With Bill" by the Marvalette's. From the beginning bassline, which sounds like something only James Jamerson could have come up with, to the vocal harmonizing, it's just a beautiful song. I haven't heard it in years, but after the jump, check out a video of the Marvalette's singing "Don't Mess With Bill" circa 1966.