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Motown Greatest Hits

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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. Of course, like all drug highs, once you go beyond the pretty surfaces there are darker forces at work. If 1972’s Talking Book saw Stevie Wonder merely hinting at the socio-political unrest of early-’70s America, then the following year’s Innervisions faced the darkness head on.

Given the right circumstances, almost everything they recorded could have been hits to match those the company was having with such groups as the Originals, the Undisputed Truth and the Temptations. The bonus titles span Brenda’s Motown career, from 1964’s pop-sounding ‘Mr Lifeguard (Come And Rescue Me)’ to the soulful ‘It’s Love I Need’, completed just a few months before her departure from the company in 1968. She was the best female singer, bar none, to cross the threshold of 2648 West Grand Boulevard, but Gladys Knight was never considered an A-List priority act as far as Motown was concerned, so intent was the focus on promoting Diana Ross’s career.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. Both are loved by the masses of music fans for their fearless unselfconsciousness and sometimes maligned by the chin-strokers as vendors of cheese. The “Artistry” album was issued in mono and stereo, but the stereo version is much rarer today, so we have decided to go with that for our CD reissue, with one exception. 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.

This intuitive grasp of his own talent was never better illustrated than on 1965’s rip-roaring Shotgun. The Detroit quartet’s cancelled Motown album released at last – with 13 bonus tracks, many previously unissued. Legend has it that when the first experimental batch of MDMA powder turned up on the streets of Detroit in the cold early months of 1971, one of the first curious recipients was Temptations producer Norman Whitfield. Every bit as fine as the album’s hit ballads, last track A Fork In The Road is no ordinary ‘road’ song. 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.We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site, provide personalised content and advertising, analyse our traffic, and ensure you see more of what you love. marks the 60th year of Motown, widely regarded as the greatest, most successful and best-loved record label in music and to commemorate this landmark anniversary Motown are issuing this 'Greatest Hits' compilation, featuring 60 tracks from across their enormously influential and remarkable history.

The promise of Gaye’s sophisticated loving is all in his voice, coarser than the crystalline angeltone he employed on What’s Going On, but no less exquisite, and similarly augmented by a crosstalk of Marvindubs and brilliantly inventive backing vox (the impressionistic, dove-like coos from 3:50 in Let’s Get It On are astonishing). Language - Regardless of country of origin all tracks are sung in English, unless otherwise stated in our description. After a slinky, subdued opener in Cleo’s Mood, Walker and his All Stars let rip with four uptempo, roadhouse rough dancers climaxing with the irresistible Shake And Fingerpop. 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. Sadly they did not, and after two years in which the quartet recorded at least 30 sides and released just three non-charting 45s, their career at Motown was over.

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”. In total, utterly effervescent small ensemble playing behind the Walker tenor sax, which is all-wailing, barking, squeaking, quacking and hooting. My Girl Has Gone, the fourth US hit single, follows with its dramatic crashes of orchestration on each chorus, contrastingly sharply with each gentler, more ruminative verse. The label had moved to Los Angeles and the core studio musicians – aka the Funk Brothers – who had recorded the distinctive, inventive backgrounds, were largely discarded.

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. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. 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 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.Not only was this James’s strongest set of songs, with powerful arrangements and production by the artist, there was a cohesive vision, too, leaning heavily on ‘in the life’ observation and personal experience – Ghetto Life, Below The Funk, Mr Policeman, Super Freak – and sticky lurve interest from tough funk (Give It To Me Baby) to smouldering slow grooves (Fire And Desire). Previously, we celebrated the 100 Greatest Motown songs to leap off the Detroit production line, but what about those all-important albums? Plus, a special bonus disk of The Best of Motown the 1970’s featuring: Rick James, The Commodores, The Jackson 5, Rare Earth, Edwin Starr and others - Over seven hours of soul-pop classics! Also included are some beautiful new guest vocalist versions that sit alongside the original vocals laid down over 50 years ago. Spearheaded by the certain power and wonderful expressiveness of the quartet’s lead singer, the great Levi Stubbs, and steered by the songs of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Reach Out was their fourth studio album, and is awash with hits – Reach Out I’ll Be There, 7 Rooms Of Gloom, I’ll Turn To Stone, Standing In The Shadows Of Love and Bernadette (all written and produced by H-D-H) plus their atmospheric cover of The Left Banke’s Walk Away Renee, and though they’re less at home with Monkees hand-me-downs Last Train To Clarksville and I’m A Believer (one can hear, if not condescension, then a certain lack of engagement with the lyrics) they’re much more comfortable with Tim Hardin’s If I Were A Carpenter.

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