RIFFS / Love that neighbour: Joi Marshall of LA soul girls Jade on 'Don't Ask My Neighbour', by The Emotions

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The Independent Culture
THE EMOTIONS are a female trio from the Seventies. Their harmonies are really intricate and the tones so sweet it's like listening to angels. With sisters, what you get is people with roughly the same tone but with subtle differences that make singing in harmony really interesting. It's like the same voice times three, but you can still pick out the differences.

The song goes: 'Don't ask my neighbour, / Don't ask the friends I hang around, / Come to me, don't be afraid of what you see / You'll find I love you. . . ' They're singing as one to their guy. He's been asking other people how his girl feels about him, and she's saying 'Don't ask my friends. I can tell you myself.' The lead singer, Shirley, really gives it her all. She does the verse and the other two join in on the choruses. On this recording the producer, Maurice White, uses a big band sound, so you get those lovely soothing strings, soft piano and light vocals.

It's a good natured song all about love and communication, and an example of what a singer should be doing - really feeling the emotion and expressing it. When we do it, Di does the lead, and Tania and I just look at each other, to inspire us along in feeling the song. Feeling it is everything; it makes the difference to a song like the difference between bland food and food you can savour.

'Don't Ask My Neighbour' by The Emotions appeared on the vinyl album 'Rejoice', catalogue no. CBS82065

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