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The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6

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12/18/2006

Review

During 1966, Motown adopted the phrase "The Sound of Young America" as their slogan -- a claim that was not hyperbole; it was the truth. The label was a hit machine, cranking out single after single, and almost all of them were hits of some magnitude, with 22 singles reaching the pop Top 20 and a slew of others pushing up the R&B charts or skimming the lower reaches of pop. This is an astonishing success and it reflects just how tight and focused Motown had become, a trait that is reflected in the listening experience of the five-disc, 125-track box The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966. Every other Complete Motown Singles box prior to this -- even the heady years of 1964 and 1965 -- was studded with subsidiary detours, Berry Gordy's forays into gospel, jazz, country, and other markets. With Motown indeed turning into the sound of young America, Gordy and his crew no longer bothered with these other potentially lucrative markets and concentrated on their core strengths, almost without exception. One of those exceptions happens to be the Mynah Birds, the storied, until now unheard band featuring Rick James on vocals and Neil Young on guitar, but their unreleased single, "It's My Time"/"Go on and Cry," fit into the rubric of young America: it was a perfect blend of Beatles rock and Motown pop-soul. It, of course, was a blip on the radar, a brief moment where Gordy and Motown flirted with the idea of rock & roll. For the most part, 1966 was devoted to exuberant, exhilarating soul, ranging from the elegant Supremes to the dirty grooves of Junior Walker & the All-Stars. What impresses most on The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6 is the variety and sophistication of this soul. Far from being a series of monochromatic spins on a single bouncy beat, there's a near-endless variety of sounds here. Much of it is bright, danceable, and infectious, as heard on Shorty Long's "Function at the Junction," the Temptations' "Get Ready," and Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston's "It Takes Two," but there's a wealth of lesser-known gems, from the Elgins' "Heaven Must Have Sent You" to a stack of sides from Chris Clark and Frances Nero's "Keep on Lovin' Me," a staple of Northern soul. Any Northern soul acolyte will find much to treasure here, but there's grittier, harder music here, typified by the Four Tops ("Reach Out [I'll Be There]") and the Temptations ("Ain't Too Proud to Beg," "[I Know] I'm Losing You"), who also saw Jimmy Ruffin step out with "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted." The Supremes, the Four Tops, and the Temptations were still at their peak popularity, but the year saw a few of the label's other stars in transitional mode: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles dropped off the radar and Marvin Gaye was busy dueting with Weston and Tammi Terrell (and also cutting the oddity "The Teen Beat Song," a love letter to the Detroit Free Press), while Stevie Wonder started dabbling with Bob Dylan in an excellent cover of "Blowin' in the Wind" (which is not the only acknowledgement of social upheaval; the Monitors' "Greetings [This Is Uncle Sam]" is a rare, early Vietnam protest tune). Amid this, there's the debut of the Spinners and the Isley Brothers, who had a hit with "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" but whose other singles prove that this was far from a one-shot wonder from them. Gladys Knight & the Pips also debuted this year with the good "Just Walk in My Shoes," but that's of a piece with the singles by the Monitors, the Originals, Robin Rick & Him -- songs that aren't well known but are nevertheless excellent and help make The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6 not just a necessary historical document but a virtual non-stop party. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 My Baby Loves Me Martha & the Vandellas 3:5
  3. 2 Never Leave Your Baby's Side Martha & the Vandellas 2:5
  4. 3 Together 'Til the End of Time Brenda Holloway 2:58
  5. 4 This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) The Isley Brothers 2:47
  6. 5 There's No Love Left The Isley Brothers 2:57
  7. 6 This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) [Alternate Mix] The Isley Brothers 2:44
  8. 7 One More Heartache Marvin Gaye 2:39
  9. 8 When I Had Your Love Marvin Gaye 2:28
  10. 9 Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over) Four Tops 2:40
  11. 10 Just as Long as You Need Me Four Tops 3:6
  12. 11 Get Ready The Temptations 2:35
  13. 12 Fading Away The Temptations 2:35
  14. 13 Helpless Kim Weston 2:35
  15. 14 A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday) Kim Weston 2:47
  16. 15 Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) The Monitors 2:9
  17. 16 Number One in Your Heart The Monitors 2:41
  18. 17 I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You) Marv Johnson 2:45
  19. 18 Just the Way You Are Marv Johnson 2:38
  20. 19 Slender Thread Billy Eckstine 2:18
  21. 20 I Wish You Were Here Billy Eckstine 2:51
  22. 21 What's Easy for Two Is Hard for One Connie Haines 3:19
  23. 22 Walk in Silence Connie Haines 2:52
  24. 23 Keep on Lovin' Me Frances Nero 2:33
  25. 24 Fight Fire with Fire Frances Nero 2:32
  26. 1 (I'm A) Road Runner Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:46
  27. 2 Shoot Your Shot Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:57
  28. 3 Function at the Junction Shorty Long 2:46
  29. 4 Call on Me Shorty Long 2:10
  30. 5 Truly Yours The Spinners 3:4
  31. 6 Where Is That Girl The Spinners 3:2
  32. 7 Nothing's Too Good for My Baby Stevie Wonder 2:37
  33. 8 With a Child's Heart Stevie Wonder 3:2
  34. 9 You're the One The Marvelettes 2:46
  35. 10 Paper Boy The Marvelettes 2:10
  36. 11 Come on and See Me Marvin Gaye 2:21
  37. 12 Baby Don'tcha Worry Tammi Terrell 2:35
  38. 13 It's My Time The Mynah Birds 2:11
  39. 14 Go on and Cry The Mynah Birds 3:3
  40. 15 Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) Chris Clark 2:28
  41. 16 Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart The Supremes 2:52
  42. 17 He's All I Got The Supremes 2:41
  43. 18 Just a Little Misunderstanding The Contours 2:39
  44. 19 Determination The Contours 2:37
  45. 20 Take Some Time out for Love The Isley Brothers 2:24
  46. 21 Who Could Ever Doubt My Love The Isley Brothers 2:40
  47. 22 Take This Heart of Mine Marvin Gaye 2:49
  48. 23 Need Your Lovin' (Want You Back) Marvin Gaye 2:22
  49. 24 Take This Heart of Mine Marvin Gaye 2:46
  50. 1 Ain't Too Proud to Beg The Temptations 2:30
  51. 2 You'll Lose a Precious Love The Temptations 2:25
  52. 3 Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever Four Tops 2:43
  53. 4 I Like Everything About You Four Tops 2:15
  54. 5 What Am I Going to Do Without Your Love Martha & the Vandellas 2:58
  55. 6 Go Ahead and Laugh Martha & the Vandellas 2:55
  56. 7 Whole Lot of Skain' in My Heart (Since I Met You) The Miracles 2:41
  57. 8 Oh Be My Love The Miracles 2:47
  58. 9 What Becomes of the Brokenhearted Jimmy Ruffin 3:0
  59. 10 Baby I've Got It Jimmy Ruffin 2:33
  60. 11 Three Choruses of Despair Robin Rick & Him 2:44
  61. 12 Copper Kettle Robin Rick & Him 2:23
  62. 13 Cause You Know Me Robin Rick & Him 2:54
  63. 14 Just Walk in My Shoes Gladys Knight & the Pips 2:24
  64. 15 Stepping Closer to Your Heart Gladys Knight & the Pips 2:52
  65. 16 I Guess I'll Always Love You The Isley Brothers 2:37
  66. 17 I Hear a Symphony The Isley Brothers 3:12
  67. 18 La La La La Martin La Salles 2:34
  68. 19 This Is True Martin La Salles 2:14
  69. 20 Blowin' in the Wind Stevie Wonder 3:3
  70. 21 Ain't That Asking for Trouble Stevie Wonder 2:46
  71. 22 Blowin' in the Wind [Alternate Mix] Stevie Wonder 3:3
  72. 23 How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:58
  73. 24 Nothing But Soul Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:5
  74. 25 Love's Gone Bad Chris Clark 2:19
  75. 26 Put Yourself in My Place Chris Clark 2:42
  76. 1 You Can't Hurry Love The Supremes 2:52
  77. 2 Put Yourself in My Place The Supremes 2:14
  78. 3 Little Darling (I Need You) Marvin Gaye 2:43
  79. 4 Hey Diddle Diddle Marvin Gaye 2:22
  80. 5 Beauty Is Only Skin Deep The Temptations 2:19
  81. 6 You're Not an Ordinary Girl The Temptations 2:48
  82. 7 Reach out I'll Be There Four Tops 2:58
  83. 8 Until You Love Someone Four Tops 3:10
  84. 9 These Things Will Keep Me Loving You The Velvelettes 2:24
  85. 10 Hurt a Little Everday Brenda Holloway 2:50
  86. 11 Where Were You Brenda Holloway 2:22
  87. 12 Heaven Must Have Sent You The Elgins 2:31
  88. 13 Stay in My Arms The Elgins 2:59
  89. 14 Play It Cool, Stay in School Brenda Holloway 2:29
  90. 15 Everything Is Good About You Barbara McNair 3:28
  91. 16 What a Day Barbara McNair 2:48
  92. 17 And There You Were Billy Eckstine 2:35
  93. 18 A Warmer World Billy Eckstine 2:56
  94. 19 I'm Ready for Love Martha & the Vandellas 2:52
  95. 20 He Doesn't Love Her Anymore Martha & the Vandellas 2:59
  96. 21 You Keep Me Hangin' On The Supremes 2:46
  97. 22 Mother You, Smother You The Supremes 2:32
  98. 23 Remove This Doubt The Supremes 2:50
  99. 24 Loraine Alterman Interviews Marvin Gaye 2:6
  100. 25 The Teen Beat Song Marvin Gaye 2:14
  101. 1 (Come 'Round Here) I'm the One You Need The Miracles 2:28
  102. 2 Save Me The Miracles 2:23
  103. 3 A Place in the Sun Stevie Wonder 3:8
  104. 4 Sylvia Stevie Wonder 2:31
  105. 5 Money (That's What I Want), Pt. 2 Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:28
  106. 6 Money (That's What I Want), Pt. 1 Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:4
  107. 7 (I Know) I'm Losing You The Temptations 2:25
  108. 8 I Couldn't Cry If I Wanted To The Temptations 2:37
  109. 9 I've Passed This Way Before Jimmy Ruffin 2:46
  110. 10 Tomorrow's Tears Jimmy Ruffin 2:56
  111. 11 Since I Lost You Girl The Monitors 2:29
  112. 12 Don't Put off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today The Monitors 2:37
  113. 13 Some Day at Christmas Stevie Wonder 2:48
  114. 14 The Miracles of Christmas Stevie Wonder 2:24
  115. 15 The Miracles of Christmas [Alternate Mix] Stevie Wonder 2:49
  116. 16 Standing in the Shadows of Love Four Tops 2:35
  117. 17 Since You've Been Gone Four Tops 2:37
  118. 18 It Takes Two Marvin Gaye 2:53
  119. 19 It's Got to Be a Miracle (This Thing Called Love) Marvin Gaye 3:23
  120. 20 6 by 6 Earl Van Dyke 2:18
  121. 21 (There Is) No Greater Love Earl Van Dyke 2:11
  122. 22 Goodnight Irene The Originals 2:50
  123. 23 Need Your Lovin' (Want You Back) The Originals 2:34
  124. 24 The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game The Marvelettes 2:47
  125. 25 I Think I Can Change You The Marvelettes 2:44
  126. 26 Mother You, Smother You The Supremes 2:25
  127. 27 [Untitled Track] 2:9

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