Another superb collection of Motown’s hidden gems!
Having already purchased the previous 3 volumes I was eagerly awaiting the latest installment, and it didn't disappoint.
Yes, it perhaps different than the other three, featuring some more “shufflers” this time, but there’s still a number of up-tempo tracks to keep the “Northern Soulers” happy.
So, if you’ve been debating whether to buy this CD to add to your collection, grab it while you can!. It’s an absolute steal at the price it’s being offer at, and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. KTF.
The British label Tamla Motown has previously brought us 129 previously unreleased gems from the seemingly infinite Hitsville cellars in the first three volumes of this series, and now miraculously tempt us with a further fifty titles, including some that you just know would have been massive had they surfaced at the right time. How could The Day You Take One (You Have To Take The Other) as rendered by Gladys Knight and the Pips have been consigned to oblivion, not to mention their storming cover of A Bird In The Hand (Is Worth Two In The Bush)? This series is not the only outlet for previously unreleased Motown. Many re-releases have been expanded with extra tracks and there has been the Lost And Found series, each devoted to one Motown act, and yet even now there are newly recovered items by major artists such as Marvin Gaye (even if one is a rather excruciating duet with Oma Heard), Stevie Wonder, the Miracles and the Temptations, as well as the multitude of excellent signings who were never given the promotion and releases they might have expected at the time.
Most of the tracks here emanated from Hitsville in Detroit, but there is a significant contribution from IPG Studios in Los Angeles (the superb Brenda Holloway, Frank Wilson, Oma Heard) and even one track from New York (by the unknown Utopians), and many sides of the huge Motown operation are represented. The time period is from before the catastrophic move from Detroit to Los Angeles, but the set opens with one superb later track, the Blackberries, recorded by Sherlie Matthews and Deke Richards for an unreleased album in 1971. Even Berry Gordy's supper club aspirations are indulged, with two torch ballads, one by Barbara McNair and one by Brenda Holloway.
Some tracks have been known on Northern Soul dance floors from scratchy acetates and bootlegs, and now appear officially in pristine quality for the first time. One of these is LaBrenda Ben's I've Got A Right To Cry, now found in a tape labelled Lead Me And Guide Me, and attributed to Holland and Dozier, the producers. It was worth the wait. Other highlights for me were the Monitors' Doctor Of Love, with another great Sandra Fagin vocal; the Contours' energetic, raucous rendition of Dancing USA (it was released with a different lyric over the same backing track by the Vandellas as Nobody'll Care); the Marvelettes' That's The Way I See Him, complete with Gladys' hoarse vocal and a great sax solo; and not only two classic Junior Walker and the All Stars tracks, one vocal and one instrumental) but something by the Agents, which unknown name would seem to conceal several if not all of the same group, some revealed by the composer credits.
As usual mono rules, but six of the tracks are presented in uncredited stereo. Far from scraping the cellar barrel, this recommended collection may be the strongest set yet in the series, and comes with fulsome sleeve notes and recording details.
Have just finished playing it so here are my initial thoughts.
In my view COM4 is different from the previous volumes as the tracks & artists chosen don't all have what I think of as having a distinct Motown sound. The compilers have mixed things up a bit and it's worked out for the better. It all begins with the Blackberries 'Kidnapped' which is a real Motown stomper even though it's from the '70's (I think). As side one progresses it goes through various styles & tempos which kept my interest although there are a couple of tracks which still have to grow on me. Side two is 24ct gold, again with a diverse range of artists and sounds. From Martha Reeves & The Vandellas brash 'Miss Lonely Heart' to Brenda Holloway's sublime 'Little Miss Loser' the quality never drops. Many of the tracks should have been singles and could have been hits. COM4 shows conclusively that Motown was just not always pumping out the same old song, however good it might be.
Picking out favourites is difficult as I have so many but I'll list a few. From side one I think that the big surprises are 'All I Need Is A Chance' - Robert Dobyne, 'Daddy, Cool' - Oma Heard & 'Have A Little Patience (And Wait) - Mary Wells. Stand outs from side two are 'Only A Lonely Man Would Know' - Ivy Jo Hunter, 'It's Gonna Be Always' - Blinky, 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely' - Tammi Terrell & 'Mobile Lil The Dancing Witch' - Shorty Long.
The liner notes are great & readable without a magnifying glass which is even better. The photos are lovely especially that new one of Blinky. Lastly the two most important words are the final two written in the introduction which are 'so far'!
Grateful thanks to Paul N, Keith, Chris and all those involved in what is probably the most interesting edition of the COM series.
Motown produced so much good stuff back in the sixties that a good portion of the songs went unreleased. Here we have the fourth in this wonderful series featuring names famous and names unfamiliar. It's great to have a sprinkling of groovy ballads in the mix this time.
There are too many highlights to mention but, in my humble opinion, the best vaulted track of all time has been discovered in the vaults and appears on this set, where it is attributed to Holland & Dozier (well, that's what was on the tape box). Why Universal isn't charging a fortune for these gems is beyond me, as each and every track is more valuable than the CD selling price.
Grab a copy - and if you don't have the three preceding volumes, grab them too.
Now, I must get back to bouncing round the room on my exercise ball.....
This has got to be one of the best commercial ventures into the vaults of the great Tamla Motown Label for a long time, so much that i rate this higher than the previous three volumes. It just goes to show the talent that was at Berry Gordy's disposal in the golden years and the team must have found it hard not to put some of these tracks out for general release, i still get a buzz on hearing more from the vaults and have been collecting Motown for over 4 decades.
I personally never tire of the up-tempo tracks and there are plenty on display here, plus there are loads of classic soul tunes by legends such as Brenda Holloway, The Four Tops, The Originals and David Ruffin to name but a few. Well done to Paul Nixon and everyone in the team for uncovering some great tracks and at an excellent price too, can't wait for the next installment.
Marvin Gaye is still my all time Favourite, i still like discovering unheard tracks by him and never tire of his early tracks. Are there any more gems out there?
After three A Cellarful Of Motown! volumes countless single artist anthologies and Lost & Found sets and other compilations digging up treasure after treasure in the Motown vaults, one would think that we should start experiencing a decrease in quality now. I'm sure we'll find ourselves in that position at some time in the future, but thankfully, we're far from there yet as the fourth installment of A Cellarful Of Motown! show. As pointed out by previous reviewers the compilers Paul Nixon & C:o have started mixing genres, all for the better in my opinion, including except for the ever-welcome Northern Soul stompers, some mid-tempo and slow-moving songs as well as a couple of jazzy tunes, as well. The Northern Soul-fan, for which this series was initially targeted to, should not despair however since there's plenty of songs that would fill up a dancefloor in a minute.
I confess that I initially thought less of this fourth volume than I did when I got my hands on the previous three, but after a couple of listens I don't consider this volume far behind the others, if behind at all. First of all, there's some really good songs from some really great artists. Except for the usual big names returning, like The Miracles, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye, I've been enoying The Lollipops, Ivy Jo Hunter, Joe Stubbs and James Epps (of The Fantastic Four) since I first heard them and it's great to have them return, along with many other second and third tier Motown acts, for this volume.
So, who is this volume aimed at? The Motown and classic Soul collectors will enjoy this of course, what about the casual music listener? Unreleased and rare material is usually a pleasure reserved for the most devoted fans, the casual listener often feeling either overwhelmed, underwhelmed or plain discouraged to make a purchase. That is not the case here. Many of the 50 songs featured here could have done well, even been hits, on their own had they been released at the time. Fact is, my introduction to the Motown label was A Cellarful Of Motown! Vols. 1 and 2. What I'm trying to say is, this double-CD is as good an introduction to 60's soul and to Motown as any, really. If you can appreciate the sound of vintage soul, quality arrangements and production, gritty or sweet or soulful vocals, qualitative musicianship, lyrics about love and heartbreak, great melodies this double-CD is for you. Adding to that is how cheap this being sold here at Amazon and other online retailers; 7.99 GBG I believe. That's 16 cents per song. It's a no-brainer, really!