THE SUPREMES: ‘Let The Music Play: Supremes Rarities 1960-1969’ (Label: Hip-O Select, Motown)

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THE SUPREMES: 'Let The Music Play: Supremes Rarities 1960-1969'

Compilation producer Andrew Skurow and his enterprising crew of Hip-O Select song sleuths have dug deep into the Motown vaults and exhumed 48 lost tracks cut by the Diana Ross-era Supremes in the 1960s. As avid Supremes’ collectors will probably know, there have already been several other Hip-O Select compilations sourced from unreleased Supremes’ tracks (for example, the canned LP ‘There’s A Place For Us,’ first issued in 2004) but this new, attractively packaged, limited edition 2-CD set is the most extensive collection yet of the iconic group’s forgotten studio sessions. Sequenced chronologically, it begins right back at the start in 1960, with ‘(You Can) Depend On Me,’ co-written by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson and the fledgling group’s Motown version of ‘Tears Of Sorrow,’ a track they first cut for the LuPine label when they were known as The Primettes. Of more interest, perhaps, is the group’s fascinating retooling of tracks by The Beatles and Rolling Stones – the Supremes give the Motown treatment to a perky remake of the Fab Four’s ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and also ‘Not Fade Away,’ the Bo Diddley-style blues number co-penned by Buddy Holly which became the Stones’ first US smash in 1964. Interestingly, Mick and Keef’s self-penned ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ also receives a Hitsville makeover, as does Tom Jones’ big ’65 smash ‘It’s Not Unusual.’ Listen out, too, for a terrific uptempo version of The Miracles’ ‘Mickey’s Monkey’ and a striking rendition of Jimmy Webb’s psychedelic MOR epic, ‘MacArthur Park.’ Other previously unheard gems include a rendering of Bacharach-David’s classic ‘The Look Of Love,’ alternate versions of the late-’60s hits ‘Love Child’ and ‘I’m Livin’ In Shame’ and a stereo mix of the excellent ‘The Beginning Of The End Of Love.’ The group’s attempts at gospel music are also evidenced by the church-infused songs ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’ and ‘Every Time I Feel The Spirit.’ As we’ve come to expect from Hip-O Select, the annotation is diligently-researched and undoubtedly enhances the listener’s appreciation of the music. US fans can pick this up at while UK record buyers can get this in most British retail outlets thanks to Universal’s Import Music Services. Snap it up while you can…
(CW) 4/5