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Issue 1084

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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 – black and white – fought each other over racial issues.

Almost oblivious to the chaos was Motown Records – even though just down the road from the Hitsville building riots were breaking out – and Berry Gordy’s 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 – the company’s principal tunesmiths, Holland-Dozier-Holland, quit over a royalty dispute and Florence Ballard was sacked from The Supremes. But the hits kept flowing relentlessly – 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 Select’s critically acclaimed ongoing series, ‘The Complete Motown Singles.’ Interestingly, the collection kicks off with a mop-topped white rock group, The Underdogs and their version of the H-D-H tune, ‘Love’s Gone Bad,’ 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 & Simpson’s ‘California Soul’ (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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