Methinks the Tam doth protest too much: stay away, don’t bother me, stay away, don’t bother me, oh alright then. After all, getting your heart broken by a girl isn’t as bad as being the only guy in town whose heart she doesn’t want to break. Lead Tam’s voice has “doormat” all over it anyway, a rueful, rasping, hangdog kind of a voice that stretches shyly out to love at the end of every line, then curls back up in disappointment. You can hear him going back into his shell at the end of each verse, and the rolling clip-clop rhythm is its own grey world of resignation. In fact, this is one of the lowest-key number ones ever, which makes its revival – it was originally a minor US hit in 1964 – all the more unlikely. It’s not without charm but its listlessness is irritating too. Wikipedia ascribes its success to the Northern Soul scene, and “obscure soul side is in demand” fits Northern’s M.O. alright, but did anyone under, say, sixty ever dance to this?  .


Score: 5

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