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Issue 1086

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Review

VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Complete Motown Singles Volume 7: 1967

1967

10

6.3

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UK release date 12.07.2007

1967 was a time of turbulent political and social unrest in America. The country was embroiled in an increasingly unpopular colonial war in far-flung Vietnam while at home, blood flowed on its streets as it citizens â black and white â fought each other over racial issues.

Almost oblivious to the chaos was Motown Records â even though just down the road from the Hitsville building riots were breaking out â and Berry Gordyâs company kept churning out hit after hit in 1967, most of which made no reference to the troubled times. Even so, Motown had its own problems â the companyâs principal tunesmiths, Holland-Dozier-Holland, quit over a royalty dispute and Florence Ballard was sacked from The Supremes. But the hits kept flowing relentlessly â so much so that 75% of Motown singles released in 1967 hit the charts. All those chart smashes are present on this superlative 5-CD/120-track collection, the seventh volume in Hip-O Selectâs critically acclaimed ongoing series, âThe Complete Motown Singles.â Interestingly, the collection kicks off with a mop-topped white rock group, The Underdogs and their version of the H-D-H tune, âLoveâs Gone Bad,â proving that Berry Gordy was still trying to make inroads into different demographic markets. It also features the group, The Messengers, who cut the first version of Ashford & Simpsonâs âCalifornia Soulâ (later cut by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, who first teamed up in 1967 and are well-represented on this collection). Also included are some rarities (promo-only singles and alternate mixes) that Motown collectors will salivate over. As with the previous volumes, the annotation is exemplary, with pertinent track-by-track commentary and an insightful essay by former Motown exec, Barney Ales.

An utterly brilliant collection that raises the bar for retrospectives.
Words Charles Waring

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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