Slacker Logo

The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1959-1961

Advertisement
Advertisement

Other albums by

11//2004

Review

The Complete Motown Singles has been a dream project of Motown and soul fanatics for many years, ever since the first decade of Stax/Volt singles was compiled in an impressive nine-disc box set in 1991. Prior to that, no soul label had its output as thoroughly documented as that set -- there had been the Atlantic R&B box, which collected highlights, but it never attempted to capture the label's entire run -- and while The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 missed a B-side or two, it was an exceptional piece of music history, and pretty damn entertaining to boot. It was so good that it seemed like Motown would be a natural to receive the same treatment, since the label not only had a greater impact -- not just musically, but culturally -- but it had a much more diverse roster, which would make for an exciting set. The Complete Motown Singles might have seemed like a logical move to soul collectors and fanatics, but it remained in the realm of fantasy for many years because, as enticing as that set was, it was difficult to create. First, there was the perennial problem of Motown reissues, where the label is always inclined to recycle the familiar hits instead of dig deep into the vaults. That situation improved in the early '90s, after Universal acquired the catalog and began to release sturdy sets like the Hitsville USA box and multi-disc sets by the Temptations and the Four Tops, but even with the success of these releases, there was reluctance to launch a project like The Complete Motown Singles for two big reasons. One, it was a massive project, dwarfing the Stax/Volt output, which could be squeezed into three nine-disc sets by eliminating only a few B-sides and a handful of singles without anybody but scholars and obsessives knowing the difference. Motown's classic period of 1959-1972 featured hundreds of songs -- roughly 50 discs' worth of music, which lead to the second big problem, which is that even if the label approved such a set, it would not be commercially feasible, since no store would stock such a series, no matter how it was broken up. Such was the state of affairs until the turn of the millennium, when speciality music retailing finally had an outlet via the Internet. Universal had its own Internet-only label, Hip-O Select, which finally provided an avenue for the release of The Complete Motown Singles, which was launched after a long, long wait in early 2005 with the six-disc set Vol. 1: 1959-1961. It was the first installment of a planned 12-volume series of box sets that would cover all Motown singles, including all variations of the singles and all of the label's subsidiaries, from 1959 to 1972, when the label moved its home office from Detroit to Los Angeles. All the songs would be presented in their original single form (usually meaning a mono mix), transferred from vinyl if necessary (since master tapes for many of the rarities have vanished), and each box would be packaged as a deluxe hardcover book, with a reproduced 45 of an original Motown hit incorporated as part of the cover artwork, while the inside would contain rare photos and contain a wealth of information in the track-by-track notes by Bill Dahl and Keith Hughes. In short, it's a lavish, ambitious series, and a pricey one as well -- the first set retails at 119.95 dollars, averaging 20 dollars a disc, which means that the whole series will cost about 1,000 dollars when all is said and done. So, it's a considerable investment, but there's little question of whether it's worthwhile: based on this introductory installment, the answer is an unequivocal, enthusiastic yes. And that doesn't just apply to Motown fanatics, either: this set, and by extension this series, is essential for anybody who deeply loves 20th century American popular music and culture. Naturally, a set this large demands the listener's attention, and while it will reward that close attention tenfold, it's also true that the set is not for everybody, perhaps not even Motown fans who love the classic mid-'60s sound at the expense of everything else. That sound is not heard here, although the driving, insistent dance beat of the label's earliest is, in the form of such early hits as the Miracles' "Shop Around," Barrett Strong's "Money," and the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman." But the point of this set is not the hits, which are easily found elsewhere. The point of the set is to hear it all, to find the forgotten treasures, to hear the songs that were mistakes next to the songs that should have been hits, to hear the label evolve over the years. In these early years covered on The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1, Berry Gordy was trying a little bit of everything with Motown, seeing what would stick. He would imitate the sound of other labels, like Chicago's Vee Jay, or artists like Jackie Wilson. He would jump onto trends, like the twist, or blatantly rip off hits on the chart. He recorded outright novelties, including several songs to President Kennedy. He recorded lite jazz, gospel, blues, even surf rock. He did a little bit of everything, seeing what would sell. Not all of this was good, some of it was lame, some of it was outright silly, but some of it was great, including a lot of hard-driving R&B dance numbers that have the roots of the classic Motown sound. Gordy may have steered Motown all over the place during the early years documented on this set -- and not just before they had hits, because he was just as scattershot after the hits started to come -- but there's a raw, invigorating vitality to his attempts to hit pay dirt, which makes the lesser songs here rise above curiosity to being quite compelling music. Plus, there's a nice side effect to having Motown try so many different sounds: it winds up giving a good idea of what the R&B market sounded like in the early '60s, giving a good context for Motown's big hits. And in this context, these shopworn standards sound as vital and exciting as they did when they first hit the airwaves, which is something that smaller, concentrated sets just can't provide. That ability to re-create the sound, feel, and excitement of the early days of Motown -- something that has long been forgotten due to the overfamiliarity of much of this music -- is the reason why this set is so essential to anybody who loves soul and pop music. The fact that it also has a treasure trove of great, largely unheard early Motown singles almost seems like a bonus in comparison, but it's also another reason why this set isn't merely worth the long wait, but why it comes close to seeming like a dream finally fulfilled. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Read More Read Less
  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Come to Me Marv Johnson 2:17
  3. 2 Whisper Marv Johnson 2:30
  4. 3 Merry-Go-Round Eddie Holland 2:14
  5. 4 It Moves Me Eddie Holland 2:13
  6. 5 Let's Rock Barrett Strong 2:2
  7. 6 Do The Very Best You Can Barrett Strong 2:43
  8. 7 Solid Sender Chico Leverette 2:29
  9. 8 I'll Never Love Again Chico Leverette 2:30
  10. 9 Snake Walk, Pt. 1 The Swinging Tigers 2:26
  11. 10 Snake Walk, Pt. 2 The Swinging Tigers 2:43
  12. 11 It Ron & Bill 2:40
  13. 12 Don't Say Bye-Bye Ron & Bill 1:58
  14. 13 Going to the Hop The Satintones 2:9
  15. 14 Motor City The Satintones 2:28
  16. 15 Money (That's What I Want) Barrett Strong 2:38
  17. 16 Oh I Apologize Barrett Strong 2:22
  18. 17 Ich-I-Bon No.1 Nick & the Jaguars 2:25
  19. 18 Cool and Crazy Nick & the Jaguars 2:10
  20. 19 Bad Girl The Miracles 2:41
  21. 20 I Love Your Baby The Miracles 2:39
  22. 21 The Feeling Is So Fine The Miracles 2:40
  23. 22 (You Can) Depend on me The Miracles 3:6
  24. 23 My Beloved The Satintones 2:22
  25. 24 Sugar Daddy The Satintones 2:46
  26. 25 You Never Miss a Good Thing Eugene Remus 3:10
  27. 26 Hold Me Tight Eugene Remus 2:10
  28. 27 Gotta Have Your Lovin' Eugene Remus 2:29
  29. 1 Way Over There The Miracles 2:55
  30. 2 (You Can) Depend on me The Miracles 2:44
  31. 3 Way Over There The Miracles 2:54
  32. 4 My Beloved The Satintones 2:25
  33. 5 You Never Miss a Good Thing Eugene Remus 3:11
  34. 6 Yes, No, Maybe So Barrett Strong 2:15
  35. 7 You Knows What to Do Barrett Strong 2:46
  36. 8 Custer's Last Man Popcorn and the Mohawks 3:55
  37. 9 Shimmy Gully Popcorn and the Mohawks 2:31
  38. 10 Who Wouldn't Love a Man Like That Mable John 2:42
  39. 11 You Made a Fool Out of Me Mable John 2:21
  40. 12 Whirlwind Barrett Strong 2:10
  41. 13 I'm Gonna Cry (If You Quit Me) Barrett Strong 2:53
  42. 14 Bye Bye Baby Mary Wells 2:51
  43. 15 Please Forgive Me Mary Wells 2:38
  44. 16 What Makes You Love Him Sammy Ward 2:34
  45. 17 That Child Is Really Wild Sammy Ward 2:43
  46. 18 Who's the Fool Sammy Ward 2:40
  47. 19 Shop Around The Miracles 3:1
  48. 20 Who's Lovin' You The Miracles 3:1
  49. 21 True Love Herman Griffin 2:10
  50. 22 It's You Herman Griffin 2:1
  51. 23 Shop Around The Miracles 2:47
  52. 24 Oh Lover 2:54
  53. 25 That's Why I Love You So Much 2:3
  54. 26 I've Got a Notion Henry Lumpkin 2:30
  55. 27 We Really Love Each Other Henry Lumpkin 2:37
  56. 1 Don't Feel Sorry for Me Jimmy Ruffin 2:21
  57. 2 Heart Jimmy Ruffin 2:44
  58. 3 Don't Let Him Shop Around Debbie Dean 2:43
  59. 4 A New Girl Debbie Dean 2:24
  60. 5 Ain't It Baby The Miracles 2:31
  61. 6 The Only One I Love The Miracles 2:32
  62. 7 Money and Me Barrett Strong 2:35
  63. 8 You've Got What It Takes Barrett Strong 3:1
  64. 9 When I Needed You Little Iva & Her Band 2:53
  65. 10 Continental Strut Little Iva & Her Band 2:26
  66. 11 Whole Lotta Woman The Contours 2:47
  67. 12 Come On and Be Mine The Contours 2:38
  68. 13 I Want a Guy The Supremes 3:3
  69. 14 Never Again The Supremes 3:0
  70. 15 He Lifted Me The Gospel Stars 4:2
  71. 16 Behold the Saints of God The Gospel Stars 2:43
  72. 17 Poor Sam Jones Mickey Woods 2:42
  73. 18 They Rode Through the Valley Mickey Woods 2:37
  74. 19 Money (That's What I Want) Richard Wylie 2:22
  75. 20 I'll Still Be Around Richard Wylie 2:52
  76. 21 Tomorrow and Always The Satintones 2:37
  77. 22 A Love That Can Never Be The Satintones 2:40
  78. 23 Tomorrow and Always The Satintones 2:50
  79. 24 Whole Lotta Woman The Contours 2:52
  80. 25 Blibberin' Blabbin' Blues Gino Parks 2:25
  81. 26 Don't Say Bye-Bye Gino Parks 1:50
  82. 1 Angel The Satintones 2:32
  83. 2 (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over Marvin Gaye 5:10
  84. 3 Witchcraft Marvin Gaye 2:24
  85. 4 Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide Marvin Gaye 3:2
  86. 5 Never Let You Go (Sha Lu Bop) Marvin Gaye 2:41
  87. 6 I Don't Want to Take a Chance Mary Wells 2:46
  88. 7 I'm So Sorry Mary Wells 2:24
  89. 8 Rosa Lee (Stay Off the Bell) Andre Williams 2:26
  90. 9 Shoo-Doo Andre Williams 3:48
  91. 10 Misery Barrett Strong 2:27
  92. 11 Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right Barrett Strong 2:41
  93. 12 Broken Hearted The Miracles 2:56
  94. 13 Mighty Good Lovin' The Miracles 2:35
  95. 14 No Love Mable John 2:52
  96. 15 Looking for a Man Mable John 2:33
  97. 16 Same Thing Gino Parks 2:20
  98. 17 That's No Lie Gino Parks 2:33
  99. 18 I Know How It Feels The Satintones 2:35
  100. 19 My Kind of Love The Satintones 2:26
  101. 20 No Love Mable John 2:31
  102. 21 Buttered Popcorn Diana Ross & the Supremes 2:55
  103. 22 Who's Lovin' You The Supremes 2:48
  104. 23 Buttered Popcorn Diana Ross & the Supremes 2:30
  105. 24 Oh, Mother of Mine The Temptations 2:16
  106. 25 Romance Without Finance The Temptations 2:47
  107. 26 I Am Bound The Golden Harmoneers 2:28
  108. 27 Precious Memories The Golden Harmoneers 2:53
  109. 1 Please Mr. Postman The Marvelettes 2:27
  110. 2 So Long Baby The Marvelettes 2:49
  111. 3 The Stretch The Contours 2:39
  112. 4 Funny The Contours 2:55
  113. 5 Itsy Bity Pity Love Debbie Dean 2:46
  114. 6 But I'm Afraid Debbie Dean 2:51
  115. 7 They Shall Be Mine Rev. Columbus Mann 2:16
  116. 8 Jesus Loves Rev. Columbus Mann 3:19
  117. 9 Someone to Call My Own Equadors 2:4
  118. 10 You're My Desire Equadors 2:20
  119. 11 Love Me Pete Hartfield 2:32
  120. 12 Darling Tonight Pete Hartfield 2:10
  121. 13 Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues The Miracles 2:54
  122. 14 I Can't Believe The Miracles 2:48
  123. 15 Angel in Blue Joel Sebastian 2:51
  124. 16 Blue Cinderella Joel Sebastian 2:6
  125. 17 Strange Love Mary Wells 2:39
  126. 18 Come to Me Mary Wells 2:13
  127. 19 The Day Will Come Freddie Gorman 2:21
  128. 20 Just for You Freddie Gorman 2:9
  129. 21 Have I the Right Popcorn and the Mohawks 2:27
  130. 22 Real Good Lovin' Popcorn and the Mohawks 2:24
  131. 23 Zing Went the Strings of My Heart The Satintones 2:56
  132. 24 Faded Letter The Satintones 2:46
  133. 1 Jamie Eddie Holland 2:21
  134. 2 Take a Chance on Me Eddie Holland 2:33
  135. 3 Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) The Valadiers 2:44
  136. 4 Take a Chance The Valadiers 2:12
  137. 5 Actions Speak Louder Than Words Mable John 2:48
  138. 6 Take Me Mable John 3:7
  139. 7 What Makes You Love Him Sammy Ward 2:30
  140. 8 Don't Take It Away Sammy Ward 2:45
  141. 9 Check Yourself The Temptations 2:41
  142. 10 Your Wonderful Love The Temptations 2:45
  143. 11 Small Sad Sam Bob Kayli 2:39
  144. 12 Tie Me Tight Bob Kayli 2:11
  145. 13 Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now) Don McKenzie 2:22
  146. 14 I'll Call You Don McKenzie 2:17
  147. 15 Xmas Twist Twistin' Kings 2:41
  148. 16 White House Twist Twistin' Kings 2:31
  149. 17 Please Mr. Kennedy Mickey Woods 2:30
  150. 18 (They Call Me) Cupid Mickey Woods 2:42
  151. 19 Twistin' Postman The Marvelettes 2:28
  152. 20 I Want a Guy The Marvelettes 2:36
  153. 21 What's So Good About Good Bye The Miracles 2:19
  154. 22 I've Been Good to You The Miracles 2:38
  155. 23 Congo, Pt. 1 Twistin' Kings 2:11
  156. 24 Congo, Pt. 2 Twistin' Kings 2:52

Loading Sliders...
  1. + -
  • GUESTS
  • CHAT
Some UserSample Msg
Advertisement

Advertisement

LIVE STREAM... SOCIAL RADIO STREAM...

LIVE STREAM... SOCIAL RADIO STREAM...
Casting to |