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A Fine Collection Although Not Comprehensive
on 12 June 2014
An iconic series of labels from Detroit and whilst many, possibly most have been issued on silver discs before, this is still a nice re-issue but not comprehensive. Advertised as the 45s collection I assumed that these were to be the mono mixes until HDH started issuing singles in Stereo. This is not the case and it's annoying to find out that "One Monkey" and "The Day I Found Myself" are the stereo LP versions. The single mixes of these tracks were far more interesting and have never been released. The US mixes on cuts such as "You Got Me Dangling On a String" and a number of the Honeycone cuts are missing with no explanation. There are other examples throughout the set where there are anomalies and LP versions. It is a tad mardy when you consider that this is not a cheap issue.
The package is nicely presented although the sleeve notes by Dean Rudland are poor. He misses out some artist's information(completely in some instances) and as for mention of the musicians who contributed to these fine tracks, almost unbelievably you won't find anything. There is no new research based on contemporary interviews that could have added so much to the presentation and I found the notes he produces boring. A real shame and avoidable.
On a positive note, much of the music stands up well in the forty years since the labels of Invictus, Hot Wax and Music Merchant were running and the main reason for that is the trio of Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier,were still hitting with iconic songs that included Chairmen of the Board's "Give Me Just a Little More Time" and Freda Payne's "Band of Gold".They couldn't immediately claim all the credit as contractual wrangles with Motown meant they had to write under the assumed name Edythe Wayne (or sometimes Edith).Other listeners will highlight their own favourite tracks but for me the highlight of highlights will always be Lamont Dozier's vocal on "Why Can't We Be Lovers". The dance grooves on many of the Honeycone cuts still sound fantastic and it was good to hear a number of unissued cuts which appear on the final CD even though they are rarely up to the standard of the released material. I rather enjoyed the new Tom Moulton re-mixes tagged onto the last CD. In spite of my reservations that this isn't what it was meant to be there's enough good music present for general happiness all around.