Back in those dim, distant 1960s. The Marvelettes were a girl group signed to Motown, the powerhouse of soul, in Detroit, Michigan. The Marvelettes were never to be the studio's biggest stars among girl groups, nor its favorites, though they did give it its first hit with the 1961 "Please Mr. Postman." Nor did they ever produce great solo stars, as legendarily did the more favored groups: The Supremes, with Diana Ross; The Pips, with Gladys Knight, and The Vandellas, with Martha Reeves. Still, this group had two good strong voices, each of whom could sing lead, in Gladys Horton and Wanda Young, and the group had a number of hits through the 1960's.
"Postman," "Playboy," "Twistin' Postman," and "Beechwood 4-5789," their earliest 60's hits, are generally considered the most bubblegum-girly. Although their sound, from the beginning, was always rougher, and tougher-rocking than many of the other girl groups. Later, the brilliant Smokey Robinson took them in hand, writing and producing for them, with additional material from the rest of Berry Gordon's top-flight stable: Holland-Dozier-Holland, Marvin Gaye, Ashford-Simpson, and Gordy himself. They became tougher, more uptempo rockers, more in the Motown mold, and had further hits such as "Don't Mess With Bill," and "Too Many Fish in the Sea." Still, it must be said, they were in hot competition with the rest of the Motown groups for the best material, and, as someone once said, it's hard to get the best material when someone else, Diana Ross in this case, is sleeping with the boss.
Never mind, all their hits are here, and the album's a must for fans of Motown, soul, or girl groups. Furthermore, you can still dance to them. A few years ago I saw the current Marvelettes in live concert outdoors, and there was a lot of dancing under the stars. If you remember how to twist?