Monday, 4 June 2018

The Complete Motown Singles Volume Eight (1968)

  

By 1968, the great days of Motown's commercial success in the singles charts was slightly on the wane, but only slightly. Rock artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys were concentrating on putting out quality albums as well as singles, and while Motown artists had always released albums, they were often of the "singles and over versions" variety. Stevie Wonder and The Temptations started to change that around now, and Diana Ross & The Supremes even got in on the act with their "socially conscious" "Love Child" album. 

So, Motown acts were looking to put out more serious songs, often "message" songs, and some of these begin to make their presence felt here, such as The Temptations' funky "Cloud Nine", Diana Ross's afore-mentioned "Love Child", Smokey Robinson's "I Care About Detroit", Martha Reeves' war-influenced "Forget Me Not". These are still in the minority, however and there are some absolute killer "Motown Sound" singles on this collection. Also, some excellent rarities too, like the soulful "Why The, Why Me" by Abdullah, Debbie Dean's "Why Am I Loving You", The Fantastic Four's "I Love You Madly" and Chuck Jackson's Northern Soul-ish "Girls Girls Girls".

An interesting piece of trivia is that Eddie Holland rated The Four Tops' "I'm In A Different World" as the best song he ever wrote. Hmmm. I like it, sure, it's ok, but the "best ever"? Many more candidates around. He wrote them though, so it's his choice.

In my opinion, it is around now that the difference between mono and stereo is starting to become more obvious. Most of the recordings here are in their original single release of "pure mono" and, while they sound rich and full, stereo versions of the same songs, either included here as "stereo promo versions" or available on other compilations, sound much better. I say this as a confirmed stereo man, but I feel that in previous years it did not matter so much, but it is starting to now. Anyway here are some of the box set's highlights:-

"How Can I Forget" - The Temptations
"You're All I Need To Get By" - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
"Your Mother's Only Daughter" - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
"Why Them, Why Me" - Abdullah
"Cloud Nine" - The Temptations
"Shoo-Be-Doo" - Stevie Wonder
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Marvin Gaye
"Walk Away Renee" - The Four Tops
"I'll Pick A Rose For My Rose" - Marv Johnson
"Yesterday's Dreams" - The Four Tops
"I'll Say Forever My Love" - Jimmy Ruffin
"I Am The Man For You Baby" - Edwin Starr
"Love Child" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"My Weakness Is You" - Edwin Starr
"Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)" - The Isley Brothers
"Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
"I'm In A Different World" - The Four Tops
"Gotta See Jane" - R. Dean Taylor
"Some Things You Never Get Used To" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"It Should Have Been Me" - Gladys Knight & The Pips
"If I Were A Carpenter" - The Four Tops
"For Once In My Life" - Stevie Wonder
"Behind A Painted Smile" - The Isley Brothers
"Why Am I Loving You" - Debbie Dean
"Forever Came Today" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"Forget Me Not" - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
"Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me" - Jimmy Ruffin

"It Should Have Been Me" is indeed the original version of the song that charted much later in 1976 for Yvonne Fair.

Like 1964, another year of comparative transition for Motown.

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