Bacharach and David's "Baby, It's You" is another of those songs like "I'll Keep It With Mine" and "She Does Everything For Me" which brings out the best in musicians and singers with the result that, to date, I've yet to hear even a semblance of a bad version. Both The Shirelles' and The Beatles' versions are as heartbreaking as you could ever wish for but it's Gary and The Hornets' tear-stained teenage boy version that takes the garlands*. From that first 'sha la la la', which takes softness to a whole new level, it's uncommonly affecting. Gary's vocal is stunning: pure, intuitive, nuanced (listen to the final 'suits ya!') and beautifully recorded. Sure, he sounds a lot like a woman but then so did the Chris Montez when he sang "The More I See You" and "Foolin' Around" and they've always been my favourite songs of his. There aren't all that many recordings on which I couldn't contemplate changing a single thing but this is emphatically one of them: the harpischords (?), the reverb, the backing vocals; all are perfect - strange to think that a group of soft boys made what in essence is now my favourite girl-group record..
The fact that I've heard of Gary and The Hornets at all is thanks to Teenage Fanclub and their memorable cover with Alex Chilton of the group's "Patti Girl" which came out in the mid-90s on one side of a mailorder-only 7" released by the NME. Apparently, they'd heard it first on a Calvin Johnson mixtape. Copies of Smash Records' DJ promo of "Baby, It's You" crop up fairly frequently on ebay at around the 10-15 GBP mark for a clean copy (mine was at the lower end) but, really, just about any price would be worth paying to get your hands on such a gorgeous record. There is a 100% chance that I will play "Baby, It's You" when I clumsily spin some tunes at the Glasgow Popfest in December (more on that nearer the time!).
Update: I can't believe I forgot that Dolly Mixture also did a wonderful version. It's not quite as moving as Gary and The Hornets' but it's certainly as cute! Thanks A for the reminder.