Monday, 6 January 2014

“The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 12B: 1972”. A Review Of The 2013 (US) and 2014 (UK) Hip-O Select 5CD Box Set - The Last In A Series Of 14 Volumes.

Volume 10. in this series is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


“...Mama Just Hung Her Head And Said...Papa Was A Rolling Stone...”

There's a photograph on page 125 of this 14th and final box set for "The Complete Motown Singles" Series that will make most Motown aficionados weak at the knees. It  shows a lady in the original Motown Tape Library filing master boxes. I don't know if this mythical place has ever been snapped before - but there's a room I'd like to spend an hour or two in. And I mention it because it's typical of the in-depth and lavish nature of this truly amazing series - beautifully presented and full of fan-pleasing goodies. 

US released December 2013 (Monday 6 January 2014 in the UK) - "The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 12B: 1972" on Hip-O Select B0019213-02 (Barcode 602537532193) covers July to December 1972 inclusive and breaks down as follows: 

Disc 1 (overall Disc No. 71) has 22 tracks, 69: 26 minutes
Disc 2 (overall Disc No. 72) has 20 tracks, 63:08 minutes
Disc 3 (overall Disc No. 73) has 19 tracks, 70:17 minutes
Disc 4 (overall Disc No. 74) has 18 tracks, 65:11 minutes
Disc 5 (overall Disc No. 75) has 21 tracks, 69:03 minutes

The comprehensively annotated pages give you all the details you'd want - writers, arrangers, exact catalogue numbers, release dates, session and recording details from the official Motown files and a paragraph on each release (some of which are over two pages long). There are also some of the most beautiful photographs of artists ever produced - fabulous full-page plates. To top it all off are three detailed indexes at the rear - Artist, Title and Label (referencing the overall discs numbers above). 

A word about the sound quality - the remastering has been done by ELLEN FITTON who I've noted before for top quality work (I've tagged many of her releases on Amazon UK for a pictorial - go to my Profile and beneath it is a lits of tags - see ELLEN FITTON REMASTERS). It has to be said that to my ears - this is the very best I've ever heard Seventies Motown sound - absolutely sensational. Take tracks like Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" backed with "You've Got It Bad Girl" - WOW! Even better is the Marvin Gaye double whammy "Trouble Man" backed with "Don't Mess With Mr. T" - beautifully clear and full of presence. But the bomb for me is a B-side I've been after on CD for literally decades. "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" is almost 12-minutes long on the album - the single was edited down to four seconds short of 7 minutes - but it's B-side is the rare "Instrumental" version at 4:48 minutes. Although it's not strictly voiceless (a chorus line sung here and there) - it is unique and it just amazing. To my knowledge it makes a first appearance here - and in stunning audio (its also the repro 7" single slotted into the front cover). In fact right from the start of The Supremes "Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love" - the sound quality is gorgeous.

The downside is that it's obvious why so many of the tracks in-between the huge hits didn't make it - most are just too ordinary - some just stylistically out of place. But even the unknowns and less than famous tracks have nuggets too - Rare Earth, The Undisputed Truth, The Crusaders, Valerie Simpson and Eddie Kendricks - all of which are ace. And definite discoveries are Puzzle, Lesley Gore, G.C. Cameron and Willie Hutch. 

First proposed in casual conversation in 2004 - Hip-O Select issued Volume Number 1 in the USA in January 2005 and only now - in January 2014 - does it finish at Volume '12B' featuring July to December 1972. Nine years, 75 CDs documenting everything from 1959 to 1972, 1849 singles, 435 Billboard Hot 100 Entries, 60  Number One hits etc. I'm missing only the pricey Volume 1 and 6 in the whole series - but I'm so glad I kept up with the purchases. If we get lucky Hip-O Select are working on the 'Los Angeles' years even as we speak (1973 onwards). 

A truly amazing series goes out with a sonic blast. 

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc