Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Motown Stereo Box

Simply some of the finest Motown remasters you are likely to hear. They are superb. They transform some of the oh-so familiar songs to render them almost like new songs.

Some of them, like “The Tracks Of My Tears”, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” are “extended versions”. Both Smokey Robinson and Levi Stubbs indulge in some vocal improvisations at the end of the tracks which one doesn’t expect, being so used to the original, while Jimmy Ruffin uses a spoken intro when you expect him to launch into the song.

Marvin Gaye, on the “extended” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, however, simply sings the song through twice, and on Martha Reeves’ “Heatwave”, the chorus is just repeated a few more times.

Around 41 tracks of the 72 are “new stereo mixes” and these are by far the most impressive. Others use existing stereo mixes and, while the are good, they are not “gobsmacking” like the new ones. Overall though, listening to this makes these 72 sixties Motown tracks a delight to listen to. Seventies tracks were recorded in stereo anyway, but for these it is like listening to new recordings. Just listen to the Funk Brothers’ bass sound. Heavenly. Back to mono? Leave it out!


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