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The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970

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8/12/2008

Review

Motown survived some heavy turbulence in 1969, as the company settled into its new headquarters in Los Angeles while negotiating shifting musical tides, all before righting itself with the surprise success of the Jackson 5. The Jacksons were the engine that drove the label in 1970, helping to push Motown into a new era. This shift is documented in Hip-O Select's tenth volume of The Complete Motown Singles, a six-disc, 145-track set that -- like its nine predecessors -- is packaged as a hardcover book the shape of a 45-rpm single, with a vinyl replica of one of that year's hits embedded in the cover: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "The Tears of a Clown." That smash hit doesn't quite hint at larger trends at Motown in 1970, as it echoes the bright, bouncy beat of the mid-'60s, while almost all the other 45s from '70 do belong to a time when funk and bubblegum dominated radio. Of course, there's a good reason why "The Tears of a Clown" feels a bit like a holdover -- it is a holdover, originally released on the Make It Happen LP in 1967 but turned into a U.K. single in 1970, then leaping back across the Atlantic to top the U.S. charts. Such a convoluted story actually suits the ball of confusion that was Motown in 1970, when they were split between a maturing, sometimes rebellious group of older superstars and barreling into the future thanks to the Jackson 5 and Rare Earth, who finally gave the label a rock & roll group with some chart success. An old Smokey song, the Jackson 5, and funkified hippie rock only scrape the surface of what was going at Motown in 1970. Just a year before, they seemed a bit tentative, making concessions to the middle of the road and dabbling in worldbeat instead of diving headfirst into the thick uncertainty of the end of the '60s. The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10 shows no signs of hesitation from the label and even if a little incoherence comes with that boldness, this does make for a wildly entertaining and revealing listen. Remnants of Berry Gordy's middle-class supper-club aspirations can still be heard -- Joe Harnell's Muzaky "My Cherie Amour" provides a slick bump in the road early on -- but Motown was getting seriously funky thanks to Edwin Starr and the often unheralded Bobby Taylor, and the label wasn't ignoring black power either, with the Spinners cutting "Message from a Blackman," which may play a little bit like blaxploitation in retrospect but it does explicitly speak to politics in a way Motown never did just a few years earlier. Of course, the Spinners are better-known for gorgeous, lush soul, the kind that is best heard on their big '70 breakthrough, "It's a Shame," a Stevie Wonder production/co-write that manages to highlight two '70 trends at Motown at once: how Wonder was leading the charge for the label's artists to assert themselves on their own terms -- he had a kindred spirit in Marvin Gaye but Marvin spent much of 1970 in contemplation after the death of Tammi Terrell -- and how the label's newer harmony groups were sliding into smooth soul. The latter trend could also be heard on the Originals and their gorgeous single "The Bells" -- a Gaye production that was his only major new contribution that year -- while Stevie had another huge hit with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," as big a breakthrough as Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," which established her as a solo success. As all this was happening, the Temptations continued to get far out with producer Norman Whitfield, who also helmed the recordings of Rare Earth, whose trippy, wah-wah-drenched funky rock & roll captured the garish paisleys of the '60s hangover like nothing else Motown ever recorded, yet they could slide onto AM pop radio in 1970. So could a lot of Motown's singles from 1970, as many of their productions were stamped with a fizzy, compressed sound where all the echoes, strings, and harmonies were cheerfully flattened; this is as true for Junior Walker's increasingly easy listening soul as it is for some early Kiki Dee sides and R. Dean Taylor's "Indiana Wants Me," a melodramatic mini-epic that belongs to the vibe of 1970 as much as his Beatles novelty did in 1964. That AM pop bent is the real surprise about The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: amidst that shimmering soft soul and hard-edged funk, there's a lot that is as driven by bubblegum as by a backbeat. And that is all down to the Jackson 5, who had their best year ever in 1970, chalking up the ebullient "ABC" early in the year, following it with "The Love You Save" and then the lovely "I'll Be There," before concluding the year with "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," as exuberant a holiday single as ever was recorded. The Jackson 5 were the catalyst of Motown's success in 1970 and gave the label much of its new character, but this box proves that there was so much more than this group and the rising Diana Ross that year. This is as thrilling a listen as any of its predecessors and yet more surprising, as this documents a year not commonly acknowledged as one of the label's best. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 The Bells The Originals 2:50
  3. 2 I'll Wait for You The Originals 2:34
  4. 3 The Bells [Alternate Mix] The Originals 2:52
  5. 4 Blackmail Bobby Taylor 3:12
  6. 5 My Cherie Amour Joe Harnell 2:51
  7. 6 Never Had a Dream Come True Stevie Wonder 3:9
  8. 7 Somebody Knows, Somebody Cares Stevie Wonder 2:33
  9. 8 Wat'cha Gonna Do Terry Johnson 2:46
  10. 9 Time Edwin Starr 3:0
  11. 10 Running Back and Forth Edwin Starr 2:41
  12. 11 Gotta H Old on to This Feeling Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:33
  13. 12 Clinging to the Thought That She's Coming Back Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:8
  14. 13 I Should Be Proud Martha Reeves 2:54
  15. 14 Love, Guess Who Martha Reeves 3:2
  16. 15 Message from a Blackman The Spinners 3:18
  17. 16 Life Beats The Supremes 3:14
  18. 17 Up the Ladder to the Roof The Supremes 3:16
  19. 18 Bill, When Are You Coming Back Stu Gardner 4:4
  20. 19 Expressin' My Love Stu Gardner 2:36
  21. 20 I Don't Dream No More Stu Gardner 3:12
  22. 21 Get Ready Rare Earth 2:46
  23. 22 ABC The Jackson 5 3:10
  24. 23 The Young Folks The Jackson 5 3:9
  25. 24 You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You) Gladys Knight & the Pips 3:36
  26. 25 You're My Everything Gladys Knight & the Pips 3:3
  27. 1 I Remember When [Promo Version] Ivory Joe Hunter 3:26
  28. 2 Sorry Is a Sorry Word Ivory Joe Hunter 2:22
  29. 3 I Remember When [Commercial Version] Ivory Joe Hunter 3:29
  30. 4 The Onion Song Marvin Gaye 2:56
  31. 5 California Soul Marvin Gaye 2:48
  32. 6 It's All in the Game Four Tops 2:49
  33. 7 Love (Is the Answer) Four Tops 2:26
  34. 8 Reach out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) Diana Ross 2:58
  35. 9 These Things Will Keep Me Loving You Diana Ross 3:9
  36. 10 Dark Side of the World Diana Ross 3:0
  37. 11 Indiana Wants Me [Promo Version] R. Dean Taylor 3:1
  38. 12 Love's Your Name R. Dean Taylor 2:18
  39. 13 Indiana Wants Me [Commercial Version] R. Dean Taylor 3:34
  40. 14 Come on People Rustix 3:13
  41. 15 Free Again [Non C'est Rien] Rustix 4:3
  42. 16 On the Brighter Side of a Blue World The Fantastic Four 2:46
  43. 17 I'm Gonna Carry On The Fantastic Four 2:43
  44. 18 Who's Gonna Take the Blame Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 3:33
  45. 19 I Gotta Thing for You Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 3:17
  46. 20 My Baby's Love Arthur Adams 2:27
  47. 21 Loving You Arthur Adams 2:35
  48. 22 Two Feet from Happiness Chuck Jackson 3:18
  49. 23 Let Somebody Love Me Chuck Jackson 3:7
  50. 23 Let Somebody Love Me Chuck Jackson 3:8
  51. 1 Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) The Temptations 4:1
  52. 2 It's Summer The Temptations 2:35
  53. 3 The Love You Save The Jackson 5 3:2
  54. 4 I Found That Girl The Jackson 5 3:9
  55. 5 The End of Our Road Marvin Gaye 2:46
  56. 6 Me and My Lonely Room Marvin Gaye 2:56
  57. 7 Just Another Morning Michael Denton 3:14
  58. 8 Arma' Geden Michael Denton 2:55
  59. 9 Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours Stevie Wonder 2:32
  60. 10 I'm More Than Happy (I'm Satisfied) Stevie Wonder 2:57
  61. 11 Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours [Alternate Mix] Stevie Wonder 2:45
  62. 12 War Edwin Starr 3:25
  63. 13 He Who Picks a Rose Edwin Starr 2:25
  64. 14 It's a Shame The Spinners 3:6
  65. 15 Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music The Spinners 3:5
  66. 16 Do You See My Love (For You Growing) Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:28
  67. 17 Groove and Move Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:53
  68. 18 The Day Will Come Between Sunday and Monday Kiki Dee 2:44
  69. 19 My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) Kiki Dee 3:28
  70. 20 Everybody's Got the Right to Love The Supremes 2:38
  71. 21 But I Love You More The Supremes 3:25
  72. 22 We Can Make It [Promo Version] The Originals 2:47
  73. 23 I Like Your Style The Originals 2:49
  74. 24 We Can Make It Baby [Commercial Version] The Originals 2:46
  75. 25 An Important Message from Barney Ales (Play Immediately) Barney Ales 3:0
  76. 1 (I Know) I'm Losing You Rare Earth 3:37
  77. 2 When Joanie Smiles Rare Earth 2:52
  78. 3 Stay a Little Longer Yvonne Fair 2:41
  79. 4 We Should Never Be Lonely My Love Yvonne Fair 2:46
  80. 5 How You Gonna Keep It (After You Got It) Blinky 2:37
  81. 6 This Time Last Summer Blinky 3:5
  82. 7 Ain't No Mountain High Enough [Long Promo Version] Diana Ross 6:16
  83. 8 Ain't No Mountain High Enough [Short Promo Version] Diana Ross 4:3
  84. 9 Ain't No Mountain High Enough [Commercial Version] Diana Ross 3:28
  85. 10 Can't It Wait Until Tomorrow Diana Ross 3:12
  86. 11 Young Gifted and Black Bob and Marcia 3:12
  87. 12 Peace of Mind Bob and Marcia 2:28
  88. 13 Still Water (Love) Four Tops 3:12
  89. 14 Still Water (Peace) Four Tops 2:41
  90. 15 Stone Soul Booster Buzzie 3:13
  91. 16 Sandy Buzzie 2:36
  92. 17 I'll Be There The Jackson 5 3:41
  93. 18 One More Chance The Jackson 5 2:58
  94. 19 Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World) The Temptations 4:11
  95. 20 Hum Along and Dance The Temptations 3:35
  96. 21 As Long as I've Got You Danny Hernandez & The Ones 2:1
  97. 22 One Little Teardrop Danny Hernandez & The Ones 2:24
  98. 23 Stand by Me Jimmy Ruffin 3:44
  99. 24 Your Love Was Worth Waiting For Jimmy Ruffin 2:48
  100. 1 The Tears of a Clown Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 3:2
  101. 2 Promise Me Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 3:4
  102. 3 The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage [Alternate Mix][Alternate Take] Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 2:57
  103. 4 Heaven Help Us All Stevie Wonder 3:12
  104. 5 I Gotta Have a Song Stevie Wonder 2:31
  105. 6 You Keep Me Hangin' On Hugh Masekela 3:25
  106. 7 Make Me a Potion Hugh Masekela 3:21
  107. 8 It's a Lonesome Road Hearts of Stone 2:32
  108. 9 Yesterday's Love Is Over Hearts of Stone 2:50
  109. 10 I Gotta Let You Go Martha Reeves 2:28
  110. 11 You're the Loser Now Martha Reeves 3:35
  111. 12 Stoned Love The Supremes 2:57
  112. 13 Shine on Me The Supremes 4:9
  113. 14 Stoned Love [Long Version] The Supremes 3:45
  114. 15 If I Were Your Woman Gladys Knight & the Pips 3:10
  115. 16 The Tracks of My Tears Gladys Knight & the Pips 3:4
  116. 17 Marionette The Marvelettes 3:36
  117. 18 After All The Marvelettes 3:18
  118. 19 River Deep-Mountain High The Supremes 3:13
  119. 20 Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music The Supremes 3:3
  120. 21 Coming Apart Allan Nicholls 3:12
  121. 22 Let the Music Play Allan Nicholls 3:52
  122. 23 Coming Apart [Stereo Promo Version] Allan Nicholls 3:40
  123. 1 Stop the War Now Edwin Starr 3:41
  124. 2 God Bless Whoever Sent You The Originals 3:15
  125. 3 Just to Keep You Satisfied The Originals 3:55
  126. 4 Desperate Young Man The Originals 3:20
  127. 5 Born to Wander Rare Earth 2:54
  128. 6 Here Comes the Night Rare Earth 3:24
  129. 7 Born to Wander [Stereo Promo Version] Rare Earth 2:57
  130. 8 Holly Holy Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:12
  131. 9 Carry Your Own Load Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:14
  132. 10 Santa Claus Is Coming to Town The Jackson 5 2:29
  133. 11 Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year The Jackson 5 2:44
  134. 12 Way Back Home The Jazz Crusaders 3:0
  135. 13 Jackson! The Jazz Crusaders 2:32
  136. 14 Remember Me Diana Ross 3:14
  137. 15 How About You Diana Ross 2:46
  138. 16 We'll Have It Made The Spinners 3:26
  139. 17 My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) The Spinners 3:35
  140. 18 Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten out My Life) Four Tops 3:5
  141. 19 I Wish I Were Your Mirror Four Tops 3:9
  142. 20 Maria (You Were the Only One) Jimmy Ruffin 3:5
  143. 21 Living in a World I Created for Myself Jimmy Ruffin 3:12
  144. 22 Living in a World I Created for Myself [Alternate Mix] Jimmy Ruffin 3:13
  145. 23 Can't Wait to See You Arthur Adams 2:32
  146. 24 It's Private Tonight Arthur Adams 3:10

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