Monday, 4 June 2018

The Complete Motown Singles Volume Two (1962)


While the first volume of this remarkable series was dominated by rock n roll, doo-wop and gospel influenced material. This second step in the progress of the Motown label and its subsidiaries, the year of 1962, saw a much more soulful sound creeping in. If you are a fan of early Atlantic and Volt (Stax) recordings you will enjoy this.

More of the names who would go on to make Motown famous are here now. We see the first appearance of "Little" Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and more from The Temptations (starting with the doo-wop of "Isn't She Pretty") than had been the case earlier. Mary Wells is still here, with the youthful Smokey Robinson & The Miracles plus The Marvelettes and The Contours. Marvin Gaye is still trying out his crooner thing and some of the excellent ones who didn't make it are still here - the soulful Henry Lumpkin, the great voice of Hattie Littles, and the first white artist to sign for Motown, Debbie Dean. Diana Ross & The Supremes are starting to make their presence felt. Still some doo-wop in there, though, like the tracks by Lee & The Leopards. Still enjoyable though. 

The Temptations appear as “The Pirates” with the excellent, bluesy “I’ll Love You Till I Die” and the early Vandellas see Saundra Mallett on vocals on the jaunty “Camel Walk” .It is not until volume three (1963) that the "Motown Sound" really appears, but it is well on the way here, far more than on volume one. The sound is a full, warm MONO and is an improvement on the 1959-61 tracks. As a confirmed stereo man, I do have to admit these true mono recordings sound excellent. The box sets are nigh on impossible to get hold of, but the music can still be downloaded at a reasonable price, as too can the individual tracks.

Personal highlights are:-

"Sandman" - Marvin Gaye
"What Is A Man (Without A Woman)" - Henry Lumpkin
"The One Who Really Loves You"- Mary Wells
"Big Joe Moe" - Singin' Sammy Ward
"Everybody's Talkin' About My Baby" - Debbie Dean
"I Out-Duked The Duke" - Little Otis
"Baby I Need You" - Little Otis
"Your Heart Belongs To Me" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"Do You Love Me" - The Contours
"Mojo Hannah" - Henry Lumpkin
"Beechwood 4-5789" - The Marvelettes
"Stubborn Kind Of Fellow" - Marvin Gaye
"If Your Mother Only Knew" - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
"All The Love I've Got" - The Marvelettes
"I'll Have To Let Him Go" - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

While Volume One is something of a labour of love to listen to in places, the famous Motown "quality control" is starting to kick in here. 


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