Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Complete Motown Singles Volume Nine (1969)

 

1969 was a real year of change for Motown. Diana Ross & The Supremes were nearing the end of their triumphant time, while The Jackson 5 were just beginning. The Four Tops were no longer quite the huge chart force they once were, and The Temptations, pushed firmly by Norman Whitfield, were heading down the "psychedelic soul" route, with "message" songs like the hard-hitting "Runaway Child Running Wild". Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were just approaching huge turning points in their careers, ones where pop singles were replaced by serious "adult" oriented albums. A young Gladys Knight was beginning to make her presence felt with some funk-based, muscular soul.

Mono was coming to the end as the default sound for Motown singles too, and stereo was getting good now and it was starting to matter. The mono singles of the past were great but the more musically adventurous numbers now being released suited stereo far more. Funnily enough, most of this set appears to be in mono, to the detriment of some of the songs, which have far superior stereo version amiable on their individual albums. A perfect example of this is The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" which nobody can deny sounds so much better in stereo.

There is also, as with all these box sets, some serious rubbish on here, however. Tracks by Billy Eckstine, Wes Henderson, Captain Zap & The Motortown Cut-Ups and Soupy Sales are best forgotten about, to be honest.

Here are my highlights from this excellent set:-

"Twenty Five Miles" - Edwin Starr
"I'm Living In Shame" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" - David Ruffin
"My Cherie Amour" - Stevie Wonder
"Runaway Child Running Wild" - The Temptations
"Don't Mess With My Weekend" - Shorty Long
"(We've Got) Honey Love" - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" - Marvin Gaye
"What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" - Jr. Walker & The All Stars
"Since I've Lost You" - The Temptations
"No Matter What Sign You Are"- Diana Ross & The Supremes
"The Nitty Gritty" - Gladys Knight & The Pips
"Suzie" - Terry Johnson
"Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yester-Day" - Stevie Wonder
"Friendship Train" - Gladys Knight & The Pips
"I Want You Back" - The Jackson 5"
"Farewell Is A Lonely Sound" - Jimmy Ruffin
"Someday We'll Be Together" - Diana Ross & The Supremes
"Psychedelic Shack" - The Temptations

B+

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