This entire series is amazing. I believe it will be completed at the publication of the 12th volume, and each volume has 5 or 6 discs. I am up to Volume 9, and I can't really say there has yet been a single weak song. And I have now discovered so many awesome Motown songs I had never even heard before! This truly is a treasure trove. Yes, some songs are better than others, but all the music from this amazing dozen-year Motown era is great. The British Invasion may have brought over the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and many others, but our American Motown is of equal or better historic significance. This music is just so consistently CLASSY it defies words. Elegance just pours out from each disc here, it is unprecedented and will never be equaled in the future.
I've been surprised to learn that there are styles of music other than soul on the Motown label. There is some very good country music as well. These discs also have a smattering of interviews and some other holiday-type nonsense which are very fun to hear and which puts the entire era in context.
The packaging for the entire series is the best I've ever seen. It is a little hard to hold the book open so you can pull out or put in the discs, but this is a minor struggle and it is well worth it. The discs are held tightly in place and are well protected, and the historical information about any particular song is readily accessible. The 45 disc which slots into the front cover is really an innovative and clever flourish, and it gives the volume's book a really nice upgrade.
Okay, here is the bummer, and it is a major one. If you are like me, you are going to want the entire series if you buy even a single volume. You will buy the first volume and you will immediately realize that it is a worthwhile investment to obtain the entire series. And who really wants to own only part of a series of anything? The cost of even one volume here is enough that you'll probably want the entire collection. Well, as I write this, in January of 2009, volume 6 is no longer available. Gone. Completely gone, except for some guy trying to sell copies for $2000 as an Amazon-affiliated seller. As good as this music is, I'm not going to spend $2000 on a single volume.Yes, I've searched eBay relentlessly for months, with no luck at all. Yes, I've searched the virtual catacombs of international online sellers, with no luck at all.
So, I'm already over a thousand bucks into this series and yet my collection is missing one of the best volumes (it covers 1966 when a lot of the talent was at their crescendos). I've twice emailed Hip-O Select Records, the publisher, and not heard a word back. I've called their customer service, and they were clueless and indifferent. The girl who answered the phone for them did not know a thing about the series. Basically what has happened, by proclaiming this as a "Limited Edition," is that they have created an inducement for various opportunistic sellers to hoard the best volumes and then to gouge Motown fans later when the inventory held by legitimate sellers is gone. They then jack the price up into the stratosphere.
So, one can only hope that Hip-O Select does another run of these amazing Motown volumes. If you are a Motown fan, you will be astonished when you hear all the incredible treasures which this series contains.