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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO I LOVE YOU - YES I DO, 31 Mar 2011
By 
This review is from: Dance With The Contours (Audio CD)
What an exceptional collection The Contours set is. I suppose 1963 was on the
cusp of the fully-formed Motown Sound, for there are hints of the famous Motown
beat throughout these tracks and it develops through the later recordings.

When you listen to the two released tracks, and a few of the others which must
have come close to being released, you can tell that subtle finishing-off tricks
are absent on most of these recordings. The Andantes feature prominently on YOU
HURT ME SO and their contribution makes the track stand out. Reverb and
sweetening with strings, plus some help with the background vocals would have added polish.

Smokey Robinson composed half a dozen of the new songs and his tracks are
uniformly excellent. The later recordings from 1964 are wonderful. One song
arrangement which really stands out is a great number entitled TONIGHT which,
like quite a few of the tracks, contains some amazing horn playing.

Billy Gordon sings lead on most of the songs. He uses his "raspy" voice on most
tracks, but when he doesn't employ that trick he proves what a fine singer he
is. It's very interesting to hear lead vocals from Sylvester Potts and Billy
Hoggs and it's a shame that Berry Gordy saw The Contours purely as a dance act -
as we learn in Keith Hughes' detailed notes.

It's an entertaining set.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Vintage Motown From The Contours, 30 April 2011
By 
Kenneth (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dance With The Contours (Audio CD)
Ace/Kent UK has done it again. Following soon after their release of the very first full length release by the Satintones, Tamla/Motown's early group who amazingly never had an album while they were with the company, comes a fantastic 26-track collection of mostly up tempo, hard scrabble, dance oriented R&B by Motown's early vocal group The Contours. The Contours, most famous for their fierce "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)" (which is not on this collection) were more similar to Atlantic R&B groups like The Coasters or The Clovers than they were to the groups which later became most associated with Motown, such as The Temptations or Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. They were funkier, edgier, choreographed their own dance moves, and were much more uptown-R&B than smooth and polished "Motown sound." This collection includes an unbelievable 24 unreleased tracks, mostly dance numbers though not all, and it is a joy from start to finish. The previously released tracks include "Can You Do It" which has a similar vibe (no accident) to "Do You Love Me." There are a number of other dance and novelty tunes in that same vein. But there are a number of real surprises in here. The blues shouter "Throw You Out of My Mind" recalls early Motown vocalist Sammy Ward or Atlantic Blues shouter Joe Turner. The Smokey Robinson penned tunes "Somebody's Daughter Oughta" or "Wanted" offer his brilliant word play in strong vocal performances. The up tempo "Tonight" and "I Didn't Know How Right It Was (But What a Night It Was)" sound vintage and contemporary at the same time.

As usual, Ace/Kent's remastering, annotations, notes and track information is unsurpassed. The notes gives the entire Contours' line up history, something which for me was always interesting because at one time (after this CD's time frame) it included both Joe Stubbs (brother of Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs) and Dennis Edwards (who replaced David Ruffin in The Temptations). The CD's sound is flawless, beautifully done...strong and not "watered down" or updated to sound less raw or raunchy than the Contours were ever meant to be.

This is a rare opportunity to hear a big fat slice of early vintage Motown, with a great group who may not have come to define The Motown Sound but had a big part in their early development and dominance of the R&B and Soul music charts. If that appeals to you, I think you will love this.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do I Love You? Yes, I Do Too., 11 April 2011
This review is from: Dance With The Contours (Audio CD)
I'd always thought of the Contours as a second string Motown group, forever condemned to release dance tracks. Just listen to my favourite track on this excellent Ace CD and you will hear that the Contours were much more than that.
"I Didn't Know How Right It Was (But Ooh What A Night It Was)" is for me the standout track and how it never made it to be a single, I'll never know. Maybe Berry Gordy decided that it wasn't the usual Contours type of song and so it was left languishing in the vaults for 47 years. And with an interesting, salacious song title with such great word play, you know that it was composed by the ever clever wordsmith, Smokey Robinson, who also produced it for the group.
I know that Joe Billingslea of the original Contours grouping is thrilled to bits with this release because he emailed me to tell me so. What amazed me too is that he remembered virtually every one of these unreleased gems after such a long period of time. He last heard them when they were recorded in the Hitsville atudio all those years ago.
This release is must have for any Motown fan. Ace Records has hit the nail on the head again in issuing such a prestigious, beautifully produced CD. The booklet is worth the price of purchase alone with its rare photos of the Contours, supplemented by Keith Hughes' revealing interviews with both Joe Billingslea and Sylvester Potts and the detailed annotations that he has provided.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contours - Dance With The Contours, 30 April 2011
By 
Mr. J. L. Lester "John Lester" (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dance With The Contours (Audio CD)
The Contours were at Motown during their early formative years and it's interesting to hear the changes in the overall sound as it matured to acquire its own niche in music. That early raw sound developed into a full blooded powerhouse and it's all here.

There was a completely separate side to the Contours, far removed from all those dance-crazy songs and I suspect these will be ones that will appeal most.

"Tonight" has to be mentioned. A big change in style and one that might have led the group into a very different direction. But if it's the classic Smokey Robinson written Motown that is wanted, this has a quite a few here and when you see "Somebody's Daughter Oughta", you know what you are gonna get...CLASSIC MOTOWN
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