Update on John Gary Williams:
Sorry, the Four Tops YouTube clip I initially posted for comparison with John Gary Williams' cover is gone! But here is a another one with the incomparable Levi Stubbs singing Ask The Lonely. I love both John Gary's and The Four Tops versions -- which I never thought possible until I've heard John Gary Williams' beautiful voice. His very different approach to the piece is adding an extra dimension of softness and sweetness to the intensity of the song. I just love it!
Here's the Four Tops version
John Gary Williams singing Ask The Lonely (from the album John Gary Williams, STAX 5503/TRUTH 4202, 1974)
From the same album: Open Your Heart and Let Love Come In
Listen to an interview conducted by Colton Thomas, an old acquaintance of mine who sparked this update: