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Motown Greatest Hits

Motown Greatest Hits

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Also of note: Cloud Nine, one of the few songs Knight was never able to get “inside”, she felt, because she had no experience of drugs. Certain items can take longer to source than the estimated week, particularly during busy trading periods and may take longer to arrive at our warehouse. Elsewhere there’s the queasy anti-chemical funk of Too High and his dig at the Nixon administration’s political chicanery – the mellifluously mocking He’s Misstra Know-It-All. Pretty much a straight-ahead instrumental soloist, he took an even more direct route as singer, aiming for visceral connection and power.

Within Universal, Motown was incorporated into various other subsidiaries including Universal Motown Records Group from 2000 to 2011 and later moved to Island Def Jam Music Group until both label groups were disbanded by UMG in 2014. The Tempts take the epic acid funk workouts of 1970’s Psychedelic Shack and stretch out the centres and soften the edges, pulling you down into a lush paradise of swirling strings and vocal harmonies. For the most part, when these unreleased tracks come out, they are as new to me as they are to my fans.

In addition to the tom-tom-crazy title track, the album had two of the group’s most mesmerising ballads, the rightly famed Tracks Of My Tears and the breathtaking, heartaching Ooo Baby, Baby, slightly less well-known but, frankly, better, with Smokey’s bittersweet vocal, at the top of his register, raising twice as many goosebumps.

You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Witness the seven-and-a-half minute, clavinet-stomp of Living For The City – a biting exposé of metropolitan decay in which the boy “born in hard time Mississippi” struggles to find a job “’cause where he lives they don’t use coloured people”. While Berry Gordy busied himself as a movie mogul, talent scouting was not an unalloyed success, but The Commodores and Rick James ploughed genuinely fresh territory for the label. Like all legends, it’s probably rubbish, but listening again to this euphoric heat-haze of an album, it kinda makes sense. The legendary Motown label was founded on January 12, 1959 and incorporated as Motown Recording Corporation on April 14, 1960 by Berry Gordy, Jr.Unfortunately for the Fantastic Four, it would not be until they moved to Westbound Records that they were able to rekindle the chart flame that had burned through their Ric Tic years. Of all the many memorable transformations wrought by Motown’s Hitsville hothouse in the 1960s, perhaps none was more remarkable than that of The Four Tops: four men in their thirties, comfortable in their supper club routine of standards, jazz phrasing and easily crooned harmonies, metamorphosed into million-selling pop stars at the forefront of the label’s international expansion. Next came the expansive, biographical, slow ghetto groove of Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone but before that the group lost their sweet heartbreak vocal sound when Eddie Kendricks went solo, and on August 17, 1973 the deeply troubled Paul Williams was found in a deserted parking lot near Hitsville USA, dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The compilation features legendary Motown artists including The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Jackson 5 and Lionel Richie. But you can’t have one without the other, and for every sceptic of Talking Book’s Marmite opener, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, there are a thousand suckers for its uninhibited whistleability and emotional boldness.The group did come very close to having an album release on Motown’s Soul imprint – to the point where a master tape was sent to the pressing plant before the plug was pulled. I’m so very grateful to my loyal fans all around the world, especially those in the UK who have never stopped supporting my career. Since we began our programme of Motown releases, the Fantastic Four has been among the most requested acts we’ve been asked to feature. From Head To Toe is one of those wickedly infectious Smokey confections, outwardly simple, but as new layers of harmony build excitement and the mood is lifted even higher when the horns suddenly drop out of the track only to rejoin the arrangement with even higher intensity. Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye hired their own bands; ubiquitous LA session men backed Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes and the other stars who remained; Norman Whitfield followed Holland-Dozier-Holland through the out door and quit, as did four-fifths of The Jackson 5.

Every bit as fine as the album’s hit ballads, last track A Fork In The Road is no ordinary ‘road’ song. I recorded so many different tracks that after a while I just lost count of what song was what or what the titles were. The latter is another staging post on Wonder’s political journey, a deceptively honeyed assault on the self-serving representatives of a white American status quo who “killed all our leaders” but will bring themselves down through their own iniquity. Talking Book is about the tunes, but it’s also about the times – and that’s the spoonful of medicine that helps the melodic sugar go down.Language - Regardless of country of origin all tracks are sung in English, unless otherwise stated in our description. Before it, Do The Boomerang, the title track and Road Runner have all shuddered the foundations, while after it Shoot Your Shot barely takes time for breath. It must be the weirdest ever song to carry co-writing credits by a husband and wife, but Anna Gaye (sister of Motown boss Berry Gordy) had already ceded her position in the Marv bedroom to Janis Hunter, jazz legend Slim Gaillard’s 17-year-old daughter. The album comprised an overview of Brenda’s four-year spell with Motown, featuring all of her USA-sides, five B-sides and two tracks from her “Every Little Bit Hurts” long-player.



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