Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Holland-Dozier-Holland: (I'm A) Road Runner

Day number four of our salute to the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland brings us to a hit from Motown’s Soul imprint. While it wasn’t a colossal hit for Junior Walker and the All Stars, “(I’m A) Road Runner was big enough for Motown to issue the single on two albums: 1965’s “Shotgun” and 1966’s “Road Runner.”

Featuring Junior Walker on lead vocals and tenor sax, the band also included Victor Thomas on piano, Willy Woods on guitar, and James Graves on drums. The Funk Brothers’ James Jamerson, who was heard on numerous Motown records of the era, played the driving bass. He was joined by several other members of the Motown house band to round out the sound of the recording.

Often H-D-H productions contained tuned percussion; however, it was unnecessary with Thomas’ piano filling this spot. In addition, the baritone sax and the guitar really add punch to this classic. “(I’m A) Road Runner” charted at #4 on the R&B charts and at #20 on the Hot 100.

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