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The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 2: 1962

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5/13/2005

Review

Picking up where the first volume of Hip-O Select's monumental The Complete Motown Singles series left off, Vol. 2 covers 1962, when Motown was beginning to gain momentum but had not yet turned into the hitmaking machine it would be in just a short year. The label and its various subsidiaries were beginning to gel, beginning to polish what would become immediately identifiable as the Motown sound, but all the pieces weren't quite in place yet. Not only was there a lot of trial and error, there still was a lot of fumbling and imitation, with the label trying to hitch its wagon to big hits on other labels, like Little Otis' "I Out-Duked the Duke," which failed to be anywhere near as big as Vee Jay's smash single, Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl," which it answers. Such novelties aren't a hindrance on a set like The Complete Motown Singles, however -- it's the reason why sets like this exist, to document both the good, bad, and ridiculous in a label's evolution. And if 1962 was anything for Motown, it was a year of evolution, as Berry Gordy was trying to figure out how to have the biggest pop hits he could. Consequently, there still were novelties and oddities, but there was also a concerted effort to have MOR vocal pop hits. Marvin Gaye is famous for favoring this supper club-styled singing at the beginning of his career, but The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 2 illustrates that he wasn't the only one in the roster, and that kind of middle-brow respectability also seeps into the handful of jazz sides that Gordy recorded over the course of the year. Add to that some tentative attempts at crafting the blend of pop and soul that became the label's signature the following year -- they're pleasant, but not necessarily memorable because they lean a little too heavily on the pop side of the equation -- and this four-disc set can sag in momentum a little bit, as on the second disc, where a hit doesn't arrive until the end of the CD. But that momentum sags only a little bit, because when the hits do come, they're brilliant and there are also many hard-driving, stomping R&B gems buried throughout this set. Like on the first volume, the hit singles that have grown overly familiar -- on this installment they include the Marvelettes' "Playboy" and "Beechwood 4-5789," Mary Wells' "Two Lovers" and "You Beat Me to the Punch," Marvin Gaye's "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" and "Hitch Hike" -- blaze brighter than they have in years, since they stand out against the MOR inclinations of a large part of the set. But the forgotten gems also stand out too, and there a bunch of them, including fiery sides by Gino Parks and Henry Lumpkin and the first single by Stevie Wonder. If there aren't quite as many lost treasures here as there were on the first volume, it's because Gordy was beginning to learn how to run Motown like an efficient, well-oiled machine. Since he was still learning, it means this set isn't as consistent as those that are right down the road, but given the wealth of terrific music here and the loving packaging -- once again, the box is designed as a hardcover book including great track-by-track liner notes by Bill Dahl and Keith Hughes -- it's hard to imagine anybody who got the first volume not being tempted by this fine sequel. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Mr. Sandman Marvin Gaye 2:31
  3. 2 I'm Yours, You're Mine Marvin Gaye 1:54
  4. 3 What Is A Man (Without A Woman) Henry Lumpkin 2:48
  5. 4 Don't Leave Me Henry Lumpkin 2:19
  6. 5 The One Who Really Loves You Mary Wells 2:25
  7. 6 I'm Gonna Stay Mary Wells 2:41
  8. 7 Your Baby's Back The Downbeats 2:32
  9. 8 Request Of A Fool (I Wanna Know Why) The Downbeats 2:53
  10. 9 Big Joe Moe Sammy Ward 2:48
  11. 10 Everybody Knew It But Me Sammy Ward 2:16
  12. 11 Everybody's Talking About My Baby Debbie Dean 2:22
  13. 12 I Cried All Night Debbie Dean 2:29
  14. 13 I Out-Duked The Duke Little Otis 2:29
  15. 14 Baby I Need You Little Otis 2:40
  16. 15 (You're My) Dream Come True The Temptations 2:53
  17. 16 Isn't She Pretty The Temptations 2:40
  18. 17 You Deserve What You Got Eddie Holland 2:38
  19. 18 Last Night I Had A Vision Eddie Holland 2:53
  20. 19 I'll Try Something New The Miracles 2:35
  21. 20 You Never Miss A Good Thing The Miracles 2:35
  22. 21 Playboy The Marvelettes 2:45
  23. 22 All The Love I've Got The Marvelettes 2:24
  24. 23 Come Into My Palace Lee & the Leopards 2:34
  25. 24 Trying To Make it Lee & the Leopards 2:34
  26. 25 If Cleopatra Took A Chance Eddie Holland 2:30
  27. 26 What About Me Eddie Holland 2:33
  28. 27 Soldier's Plea Marvin Gaye 2:43
  29. 28 Taking My Time Marvin Gaye 2:26
  30. 1 Your Heart Belongs To Me The Supremes 2:33
  31. 2 He's Seventeen The Supremes 2:38
  32. 3 Your Heart Belongs To Me The Supremes 2:34
  33. 4 Exodus Hank Diamond 2:29
  34. 5 I Remember You Hank Diamond 2:51
  35. 6 Opus No. 3 Earl Washington 3:45
  36. 7 March Lightly Earl Washington 2:34
  37. 8 Because I Love Her The Valadiers 2:36
  38. 9 While I'm Away The Valadiers 2:43
  39. 10 I Call It Pretty Music But The Old People Call It The Blues, Pt. 1 Stevie Wonder 2:29
  40. 11 I Call It Pretty Music But The Old People Call It The Blues, Pt. 2 Stevie Wonder 2:48
  41. 12 Sleep (Little One) Herman Griffin 2:45
  42. 13 Uptight Herman Griffin 2:46
  43. 14 Dearest One Lamont Dozier 2:5
  44. 15 Fortune Teller (Tell Me) Lamont Dozier 2:3
  45. 16 Same Old Story Mickey McCullers 2:26
  46. 17 I'll Cry A Million Tears Mickey McCullers 2:7
  47. 18 Do You Love Me The Contours 2:51
  48. 19 Move Mr Man The Contours 2:7
  49. 20 Back In My Arms Hattie Littles 2:45
  50. 21 Is It True (What They Say About You) Hattie Littles 2:18
  51. 22 Fire Gino Parks 2:45
  52. 23 For This I Thank You Gino Parks 2:35
  53. 24 I Found Myself A Brand New Baby Mike & the Modifiers 2:50
  54. 25 It's Too Bad Mike & the Modifiers 2:41
  55. 26 Mojo Hannah Henry Lumpkin 2:51
  56. 27 Break Down And Sing Henry Lumpkin 2:45
  57. 28 Beechwood 4-5789 The Marvelettes 2:9
  58. 29 Someday Someway The Marvelettes 2:35
  59. 1 You Beat Me To The Punch Mary Wells 2:41
  60. 2 Old Love (Let's Try It Again) Mary Wells 2:22
  61. 3 Old Love (Let's Try It Again) Mary Wells 2:16
  62. 4 This Is Our Night The Creations 2:12
  63. 5 You're My Inspiration The Creations 2:29
  64. 6 Camel Walk Saundra Mallet & the Vandellas 2:36
  65. 7 It's Gonna Be Hard Times Saundra Mallet & the Vandellas 2:29
  66. 8 Stubborn Kind Of Fellow Marvin Gaye 2:53
  67. 9 It Hurt Me Too Marvin Gaye 2:41
  68. 10 That's What He Is To Me Wright Specials 2:14
  69. 11 Pilgrim Of Sorrow Wright Specials 3:11
  70. 12 If It's Love (It's Alright) Eddie Holland 2:21
  71. 13 It's Not Too Late Eddie Holland 2:28
  72. 14 If Your Mother Only Knew The Miracles 2:40
  73. 15 If Your Mother Only Knew The Miracles 2:39
  74. 16 Someday Pretty Baby Sammy Ward 2:49
  75. 17 Part Time Love Sammy Ward 2:44
  76. 18 Your Love Is Wonderful Hattie Littles 2:43
  77. 19 Here You Come Hattie Littles 2:39
  78. 20 Trouble Lover Charters 2:4
  79. 21 Show Me Some Sign Charters 2:43
  80. 22 I'll Have To Let Him Go Martha & the Vandellas 2:46
  81. 23 My Baby Won't Come Back Martha & the Vandellas 2:24
  82. 24 Mind Over Matter [I'm Gonna Make You Mine] The Pirates 2:59
  83. 25 I'll Love You 'Til I Die The Pirates 2:45
  84. 26 Little Water Boy Stevie Wonder 2:33
  85. 27 La La La La La Stevie Wonder 2:15
  86. 28 Little Water Boy Stevie Wonder 2:35
  87. 1 Strange I Know The Marvelettes 2:36
  88. 2 Too Strong To Be Strung Along The Marvelettes 2:18
  89. 3 Too Strong To Be Strung Along The Marvelettes 2:21
  90. 4 There He Is (At My Door) The Vells 2:20
  91. 5 You'll Never Cherish A Love So True (Till You Lose It) The Vells 2:49
  92. 6 Paradise The Temptations 2:46
  93. 7 Slow Down Heart The Temptations 2:37
  94. 8 Your Love Is Wonderful Hattie Littles 2:42
  95. 9 Two Lovers Mary Wells 2:44
  96. 10 Operator Mary Wells 2:42
  97. 11 Let Me Go The Right Way The Supremes 2:31
  98. 12 Time Changes Things The Supremes 2:25
  99. 13 Hold On Pearl Bob Kayli 2:33
  100. 14 Toodle Loo Bob Kayli 2:29
  101. 15 Happy Landing The Miracles 2:44
  102. 16 You've Really Got A Hold On Me The Miracles 2:58
  103. 17 Shake Sherrie The Contours 2:39
  104. 18 You Better Get In Line The Contours 2:55
  105. 19 Shake Sherrie The Contours 2:39
  106. 20 Camel Walk Labrenda Ben & the Beljeans 2:40
  107. 21 The Chaperone Labrenda Ben & the Beljeans 2:45
  108. 22 Darling I Hum Our Song Eddie Holland 2:53
  109. 23 Just A Few More Days Eddie Holland 2:18
  110. 24 Hitch Hike Marvin Gaye 2:30
  111. 25 Hello There Angel Marvin Gaye 2:42
  112. 26 Contract On Love Stevie Wonder 2:11
  113. 27 Sunset Stevie Wonder 2:51

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