HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 6 January 2014
There's a photograph on page 125 of this 14th and final box set for "The Complete Motown Singles" Series that will make most Motown aficionados weak at the knees. It shows a lady in the original Motown Tape Library filing master boxes. I don't know if this mythical place has ever been snapped before - but there's a room I'd like to spend an hour or two in. And I mention it because it's typical of the in-depth and lavish nature of this truly amazing series - beautifully presented and full of fan-pleasing goodies.
UK released Monday 6 January 2014 (December 2013 in the USA) - "The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 12B: 1972" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Hip-O Select B0019213-02 (Barcode 602537532193) breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (overall Disc No. 71) has 22 tracks, 69: 26 minutes
Disc 2 (overall Disc No. 72) has 20 tracks, 63:08 minutes
Disc 3 (overall Disc No. 73) has 19 tracks, 70:17 minutes
Disc 4 (overall Disc No. 74) has 18 tracks, 65:11 minutes
Disc 5 (overall Disc No. 75) has 21 tracks, 69:03 minutes
The comprehensively annotated pages give you all the details you'd want - writers, arrangers, exact catalogue numbers, release dates, session and recording details from the official Motown files and a paragraph on each release (some of which are over two pages long). There are also some of the most beautiful photographs of artists’ ever produced - fabulous full-page plates. To top it all off there are 3 very detailed indexes at the rear - Artist, Title and Label (using the Disc numbers provided above).
A word about the sound quality... As with this entire series - the remastering has been done by ELLEN FITTON – an engineer that I've noted before for top quality work (I've tagged many of her releases on Amazon for a pictorial - go to my Profile page and you'll see ELLEN FITTON REMASTERS in the Tags section below). It has to be said that to my ears - this is the very best I've ever heard Seventies Motown sound - absolutely sensational. Take tracks like Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" backed with "You've Got It Bad Girl" - WOW! Even better is the Marvin Gaye double whammy "Trouble Man" backed with "Don't Mess With Mr. T" - beautifully clear and full of presence. But the bomb for me is a B-side I've been after on CD for literally decades. "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" is almost 12-minutes long on the album - the single was edited down to four seconds short of 7 minutes - but it's B-side is the rare "Instrumental" version at 4:48 minutes. Although it's not strictly voiceless (a chorus line sung here and there) - it is unique and it just amazing. To my knowledge it makes a first appearance here - sounding incredible. Right from the opener by The Supremes "Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love" - the audio is gorgeous.
The downside is that it's obvious why so many of the tracks in-between the huge hits didn't make it - most are just too ordinary - some just stylistically out of place. But even the unknowns and less than famous tracks have nuggets too - Rare Earth, The Undisputed Truth, The Crusaders, Valerie Simpson and Eddie Kendricks - all of which are ace. And definite discoveries are Puzzle, Lesley Gore, G.C. Cameron and Willie Hutch.
First proposed in casual conversation in 2004 - Hip-O Select issued Volume Number 1 in early 2005 and only now - in January 2014 - does it finish at 12B covering July to December 1972. 9 years, 75 CDs documenting everything from 1959 to 1972, 1849 singles, 435 Billboard Hot 100 Entries, 60 Number One hits etc. I'm missing only the pricey Volume 1 and 6 in the whole series - but I'm so glad I kept up with the purchases. If we get lucky Hip-O Select are working on the 'Los Angeles' years (1973 onwards).
A truly amazing series goes out with a sonic blast…
"The Motown Singles Collection" by Hip-O Select (14 Released Volumes) -
75 x CD Volumes, 1847 CD Tracks Plus 28 Tracks On 14 x 7" Vinyl Singles:
1. Volume 1: 1959-1961, Released January 2005, Catalogue No. Hip-O Select B-0003631-02 (Barcode 602517643310), 6CDs, Ltd Edition of 5000 (Non-Numbered), 155 Tracks, CDs are Volumes 1 to 6
2. Volume 2: 1962, May 2005, 4CDs, B-00004402-02 (Barcode 602517807552), Ltd Edition of 8000 (Non Numbered), 112 Tracks, Volumes 7 to 10
3. Volume 3: 1963, October 2005, B-0005352-02 (Barcode 602517845691), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 7500 (Non-Numbered), 119 Tracks, Volumes 11 to 15
4. Volume 4: 1964, February 2006, B-0005945-02 (Barcode 602517882443), 6CDs, Ltd Edition of 8000 (Non-Numbered), 163 Tracks, Volumes 16 to 21
5. Volume 5: 1965, August 2006, B-0006775-02 (Barcode 602517789414), 6CDs, Ltd Edition of 8000 (Non-Numbered), 166 Tracks, Volumes 22 to 27
6. Volume 6: 1966, November 2006, B-0007872-02 (Barcode 602517092761), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 6000 (Non-Numbered), 125 Tracks, Volumes 28 to 32
7. Volume 7: 1967, May 2007, B-0008993-02 (Barcode 602517341906), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 6000 (Non-Numbered), 120 Tracks, Volumes 33 to 37
8. Volume 8: 1968, October 2007, B-0009708-02 (Barcode 602517431775), 6CDs, Ltd Edition of 6000 (Non-Numbered), 144 Tracks, Volumes 38 to 43
9. Volume 9: 1969, December 2007, B-0010270-02 (Barcode 602517507722), 6CDs, Ltd Edition of 6000 (Non-Numbered), 148 Tracks, Volumes 44 to 49
10. Volume 10: 1970, June 2008, B-0011056-02 (Barcode 602517659209), 6CDs, Ltd Edition of 8000 (Non-Numbered), 144 Tracks, Volumes 50 to 55
11. Volume 11A: 1971, February 2009, B-0011579-02 (Barcode 602517776555), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 8000 (Non-Numbered), 119 Tracks, Volumes 56 to 60
12. Volume 11B: 1971, January 2010, B-0012227-02 (Barcode 602517876903), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 8000 (Non Numbered), 120 Tracks, Volumes 61 to 65
13. Volume 12A: 1972, May 2013, B-0012935-02 (Barcode 602527044453)), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 7500 (Non Numbered), 117 Tracks, Volumes 66 to 70
14. Volume 12B: 1972, December 2013, B-0019213-02 (Barcode 602537532193), 5CDs, Ltd Edition of 7500 (Non Numbered), 100 Tracks, Volumes 71 to 75
PS: If you can't afford the physical product in 2014 - the MP3 Downloads of each volume appear to be only £14.99 at present with individual tracks at 99p...