Here's what this great, unearthed treasure includes:
Two complete albums/the released masters, HERE I AM (1966) and THE REAL BARBARA McNAIR (1969). A third "album" BARBARA SINGS SMOKEY (titled only for this collection) and another dozen plus songs/"album" MORE FROM THE VAULT (more like a description than a title).
Signed on to Motown as an MOR artist*, Ms. McNair sings with a lovely, clear voice and gives the material a wonderful mature approach. On the standards ("What Now My Love", "The Shadow of Your Smile"), contemporary songs ("You've Lost that Loving Feeling," "Message to Michael') and the Motown covers ("You Beat Me to The Punch," "More Love," "My World is Empty Without You"), Barbara McNair's versatility as a songstress is well showcased.
Most of the Motown covers are recorded with new arrangements and background vocals. They may be the same songs, but Barbara McNair does not sing them the same way. Although the "Motown Sound" is absent from some of the selections, high quality production can be heard from the first enjoyable track to the last.
*The liner notes are filled with interesting tidbits about Ms. McNair and Motown.
On the SMOKEY set, Mr. Robinson did the song writing on all tracks and the producing on only one. Frank Wilson and Richard Morris did the terrific producing on the rest of the numbers. In fact, the producers on these discs are the 'Who's Who' of Motown producing; Holland-Dozier-Holland, Ivy Jo Hunter, Hal Davis and Marc Gordon, William "Mickey" Stevenson, Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol.