Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1089

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Review

FOUR TOPS: REACH OUT DEFINITIVE PERFORMANCES 1965 – 1973

FOUR TOPS: REACH OUT DEFINITIVE PERFORMANCES 1965 – 1973

 

5.7

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UK release date 23.12.2008

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With interviews from Duke Fakir (the remaining Four Top), Smokey Robinson, Roquel Payton and Mickey Stevenson, this 80 minute dvd proved for once and for all the power and impact of one of Motown̢۪s favourite groups.

With rare tv clips and the privilege of hearing for the first time, acappella versions of songs like 'Reach Out I̢۪ll Be There' makes this a precious insight into their extraordinary working life. Having said that, perhaps a little more care could have been taken with the packaging, and maybe the actual content of the dvd. On the packaging for instance, there are two awful errors which should have been picked up at proof reading stage, and the gaps between interviews and/or footage could have been tightened up more to allow an easier, continuous programme.

Anyway, from the introduction onwards, viewers are in for a musical journey – from 'In The Still Of The Night' into 'Baby I Need Your Loving' and the uptempo dance anthems like 'I Can’t Help Myself' and 'It’s The Same Old Song'. Most of the hits are here â€Â¦'Ask The Lonely', 'Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)', 'Bernadette', '7 Rooms Of Gloom' (lovely to see that video again) and more.

Learning their trade with Billy Eckstine, working with The Beatles̢۪ manager, Brian Epstein who encouraged them to tour the UK, the Four Tops cemented a career that would span to the present day. And with their musical working relationship with Holland, Dozier, Holland their distinctive sound, spearheaded by Levi Stubbs̢۪ unmistakable voice, launched a million record sales. Levi, Lawrence Payton, Obie Benson and Duke have stayed together as a group for life (literally), something others haven̢۪t managed, to create music that̢۪s as compulsive today as it ever was. Let̢۪s hope this dvd is the first of several reminders to come in celebration of that fact.
Words SHARON DAVIS

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