Motown released a 52-track 2CD compilation called "The Complete Duets" by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell back in 2001 - a full nine years later and on the 40th anniversary of her untimely death in 1970 - we finally get the Tammi Terrell solo material. And like its predecessor (and indeed herself) it's a thing of beauty - it really is.
"Come And See Me - The Complete Solo Collection" contains 50 tracks across 2CDs and was originally released on Hip-O's own website and then commercially to the USA in the same month - October 2010 - and now has a belated UK release in December 2010. There's a lot on here, so let's get to the details first...
Motown/Hip-O Select B0014792-02 breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (72:49 minutes):
1 and 2 are her debut USA 7" single on Scepter 1224 from 1961
3 and 4 are her 2nd single on Wand 123 from 1962
5, 6 and 7 are from the album "The Early Show" on Wand WDS 682 in 1967 - tracks 1 to 4 are also on the album - Side 2 of the LP has Chuck Jackson recordings)
8 and 9 are a USA 7" single on Try Me 28001 from 1963 -both sides written and produced by James Brown
10 to 14 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED, 10 and 11 are Stereo versions (tracks were originally issued as a Mono single on Checker 1072 in 1964)
15 to 25 are the Stereo version of her debut LP "Irresistible" issued on Motown MS652 in January 1969 in the USA and on Tamla Motown STML 11103 in May 1969 in the UK
26 and 27 are Stereo versions of 2 Non-LP tracks (they first appeared on the 1991 Motown CD for "Irresistible")
1 to 14 credited to TAMMY MONTGOMERY - all others to TAMMI TERRELL
Disc 2 (64:57 minutes):
1 is from "The Complete Duets" 2CDs, 2001 (Mono)
2 is from "A Cellarful Of Motown", 2CDs, 2003
3 is from "The Essential Collection", CD, 2001
4 is from the Various Artists compilation "The Complete Motown Anthology", 2CDs, 1997
5 is also from "The Complete Duets" 2CD set, 2001 (Mono)
6 is from the UK-only compilation "Tamla Motown Connoisseurs", CD, 2001
7 to 12 first appeared on "The Complete Duets" 2CD set from 2001 but in MONO only - 7 to 12 here are Previously Unreleased `STEREO' versions
13 is from the UK-only Various Artists compilation "This Is Northern Soul Vol.2", 2CDs, 1998
14 is from the UK-only Various Artists 2CD "A Cellarful Of Motown, Vol.2", 2CDs, 2005
15 is from the UK-only Various Artists 2CD "A Cellarful Of Motown, Vol.4", 2CDs, 2010
16 to 18 are Previously Unreleased 1966, 1967 and 1967 recordings
19 to 23 are "Live At The Roostertail", Detroit, Michigan on 19 September 1966 and are all Previously Unreleased (Mono)
The packaging is gorgeous - a 3-way foldout card digipak which sports truly lovely colour photos of her - while the exceptionally well put-together 36-page oversized booklet has a detailed retrospective of her life by African-American cultural expert DAPHNE BROOKS. There's a track-by-track breakdown, promo shots of Tammi with Marvin, album artwork and full colour plates of the gorgeous Thomasina Winifred Montgormery that literally make you double-take (the one on Page 28 in particular is a strong contender for the most beautiful woman in the world).
The sound quality is great - clean and vibrant. The first generation tapes have been handled with real class by one of Universal's top engineers - ELLEN FITTON. I've raved about her work before - she did all 12 of "The Complete Motown Singles" box sets and many other great Motown releases for Hip-O Select. I've created a TAG (see above) for both - one for her remasters and the other for Hip-O Select releases worth noting.
Some would argue that Tammi's solo material is good rather than great - the Motown machine giving her song after song that was workmanlike but never quite magic. Perhaps she needed the catalyst of a partner, because it wasn't until she dueted with Marvin that the real sparks started to fly. There was just something about them - their youth, their affection for each other, their combined voices - absolutely thrilling stuff. However, there are real solo gems on here too - the new STEREO versions of 7 to 12 on Disc 2 are 'so' good - "Memory Chest" (lyrics above) and "That's How It is (Since You've Been Gone)" in particular. And the "Roostertail" stuff shows how cool she was and that she could cut it live.
There is a poignancy to this release - because I suspect like most ardent Motown fans, I still find it shocking that she was taken away from us at only 24 in March 1970 - it seems so cruel - and just when things were about to start cooking for her. She was also in Marvin's thoughts as he wrote his Soul masterpiece "What's Going On" - and when you think of the incalculable influence of that album across the decades...
To sum up - as a complimentary issue to the "Duets" double CD of 2001 - "Come On And See Me" is pretty much faultless.
A really lovely reissue for a classy lady.