Thursday, 16 July 2009

"Forever: The Complete Motown Albums Volume 1" by THE MARVELETTES (May 2009 Hip-O Select/Motown 3CD Set of Remasters - Limited Edition of 5000) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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Released May 2009 as a 3CD non-numbered Limited Edition of 5000 - "Forever: The Complete Motown Albums Volume 1" by THE MARVELETTES is yet another superlative trawl through the Tamla Motown archives by the award-winning Hip-O Select label of the USA. And as it's been given a European release this time (Hip-O stuff is normally US-only and therefore a pricey import) which is rare.

Long-time label associate ELLEN FITTON has remastered the first generation master tapes with typically superb results. The fully featured 30-page booklet is a treat to look at and an informative read - while the 3-way gold card digipak lends the whole package an element of real class. 

The 87-tracks of "Forever: The Complete Motown Albums Volume 1" by THE MARVELETTES offers Soul fans a huge treasure trove of early Motown girl group music for a very reasonable price. So here's a detailed breakdown for Hip-O Select B-0011516-2 (Barcode 602517756052) - all catalogue numbers are USA (unless otherwise stated):

Disc 1 (78:41 minutes):
1. Angel
2. I Want A Guy
3. Please Mr. Postman
4. So Long Baby
5. I Know How It Feels
6. Way Over There
7. Happy days
8. You Don’t Want Me No More
9. All The Love I Got
10. Whisper
11. Oh I Apologize
Tracks 1 to 11 are the debut LP "Please Mr. Postman" issued on Tamla 228 in November 1961

12. Mashed Potato Time
13. Love Letters
14. The One Who Really Loves You
15. Twistin’ The Night Away
16. Hey! Baby
17. Twistin’ Postman
18. Good Luck Charm
19. Slow Twistin’
20. Lover Please
21. Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)
Tracks 12 to 21 are the LP "Smash Hits Of '62" [aka "The Marvelettes Sing"] issued on Tamla 229 in April 1962

22. Playboy
23. Mix It Up
24. Beechwood 4-5789
25. I’m Hooked
26. I Think I Can Change You
27. Forever
28. Someday, Someway
29. Goddess Of Love
30. You Should Know
31. (I’ve Got To) Cry Over You
Tracks 22 to 31 are their 3rd album "Playboy" issued on Tamla 231 in July 1962

Disc 2 (74:01 minutes):
1. Strange I Know
2. I Forgot About You
3. Looking Up My Heart
4. Which Way Did He Go
5. Silly Boy
6. It’s Gonna Take A Whole Lot Of Doing (To Undo The Damage You’ve Done)
7. Smart Aleck
8. My Daddy Knows Best
9. Too Strong To Be Strung Along
10. Why Must You Go
Tracks 1 to 10 are the LP "The Marvelous Marvelettes" issued on Tamla 237 in February 1963

11. Beechwood 4-5789 (Live)
12. Strange I Know (Live)
13. Someday, Somehow (Live)
14. Locking Up My Heart (Live)
15. Twistin' Postman (Live)
16. Tossin' And Turnin' (Live)
17. So Long Baby (Live)
18. Playboy (Live)
Tracks 11 to 18 are the LP "On Stage: Recorded Live" issued on Tamla 243 in July 1963

Track 19 is "Strange I Know (Live)", a Previously Unreleased Unedited Version
Track 20 is "Medley: Please Mr. Postman/Playboy/Strange I Know/Someday, Someway" from the LP "Recorded Live: The Motortown Revue Vol.2" issued on Motown 615 in April 1964
Track 21 is "Tie A String Around Your Finger", a non-album track, the B-side to "My Daddy Knows Best" issued on Tamla 54082 in July 1963
Tracks 22 and 23 are "Too Hurt To Cry, Too Much In Love To Say Goodbye" b/w "Come On Home" - both are credited to THE DARNELLS and are non-album tracks issued on Gordy 7024 in November 1963
Track 24 is "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers" issued in the UK only on Tamla Motown TMG 1000 in August 1975
Track 25 is "Knock On My Door", first issued on the compilation "Never Before Released Masters From Motown's Brightest Stars" on Motown in 1986
Tracks 26 and 27 are "On The Other Side Of Town" and "Because I Love Him", both are exclusive to the UK-only CD compilation "Essential Collection" issued by Sequel Records in 2000
Track 28 is "Little Girls Grow Up" first issued on the UK-only 2CD set "A Cellarful Of Motown, Vol.3" in 2007

Disc 3 (72:19 minutes):
1. Don’t Mess With Bill [Stereo]
2. You’re My Remedy [Stereo]
3. Locking Up My Heart [Stereo]
4. As Long As I Know He’s Mine [Stereo]
5. Too Many Fish In The Sea [Stereo]
6. Danger: Heartbreak Dead Ahead [Stereo]
7. Please Mr. Postman [Stereo]
8. Playboy [Stereo]
9. Strange I Know [Stereo]
10. Forever [Stereo]
11. Twistin' Postman [Stereo]
12. Beechwood 4-5789 [Stereo]
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Greatest Hits" [Stereo Version] issued on Tamla 253 in February 1966

Tracks 13 and 14 are "As Long As I Know He's Mine" b/w "He Won't Be True (Little Girl Blue)" - a non-album 7" single issued October 1963 on Tamla 54088
Track 15 is "He's A Good Guy (Yes he Is)" - a non-album track issued as the A of a 7" single in January 1964 on Tamla 54091
Tracks 16 and 17 are "You're My Remedy" b/w "A Little Bit Of Sympathy, A Little Bit Of Love" - a non-album 7" single issued June 1964 on Tamla 54097
Tracks 18 and 19 are "Too Many Fish In The Sea" b/w "I'll Keep On Holding on" - a non-album 7" single issued October 1964 on Tamla 54105
Tracks 20 and 21 are "I'll Keep On Holding On" b/w "No Time For Tears" - a non-album 7" single issued May 1965 on Tamla 54116
Tracks 22 and 23 are "Danger: Heartbreak Dead Ahead" b/w "Your Cheating Ways" - a non-album 7" single issued July 1965 on Tamla 54120
Tracks 24 and 25 are "Don't Mess With Bill" b/w "Anything You Wanna Do" - a non-album 7" single issued November 1965 on Tamla 54126
Track 26 is "I Should Have Known Better" - previously unreleased track first issued on the 1979 Natural resources US LP "From The Vaults"
Tracks 27 and 28 are "I Just Can't Let Him Down" and "Maybe I Dried My Tears (For The Last Time)" - previously unreleased tracks first appeared on the UK-only CD compilation "Essential Collection" on Sequel Records in 2000

One of the big surprises for me is the non-descript looking "Greatest Hits" set from early 1966 - all 13 tracks are in STEREO and barring some bad distortion at the beginning of the opening track "Don't Mess With Bill", the sound on the other 12 is really FABULOUS. "Danger: Heartbreak Ahead" in particular is now filled with that wonderful Sixties Motown joy. Another treat is the rare non-album B-side "Tie A String Around Your Finger" - as lovely a ballad as HDH have ever produced. And for British fans there's the £100+ single rarity "Finders Keepers, Losers Keepers" - recorded in 1964, but only released on a UK 45 on Tamla Motown TMG 1000 in 1975 when the whole Northern Soul club scene was in full flight in Britain. "Which Way Did He Go" from "The Marvelous Marvelettes" (their 1st LP in the UK) is another track that sounds truly fantastic.

I'd admit that the Live Album is not something I'll ever listen to again - and after 80 slices of non-stop upbeat 60t's sunshine - the whole thing can grate the nerves a bit...but I know there's gems on here that I'll be dipping into for years to come. "Limited Edition" is stamped on the rear of the digipak in gold - so get this while you can...

PS: Volume 2 will feature their sophisticated mid to late Sixties stuff and is to follow soon. And for those interested in the excellent Hip-O Select label - I've posted a list of 25 recommended purchases in Listmania. And see also my review of Terry Wilson's astonishing 2009 UK paperback "TAMLA MOTOWN - The Stories Behind The UK Singles" - over 700 pages of soul joy and info... 

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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