THE SATINTONES: The Satintones Sing (Label: Ace)

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THE SATINTONES: The Satintones Sing

The Satintones were the first all-male group to sign for Berry Gordy’s fledgling music empire and this wonderful 26 tracker is one of the most significant collectors’ items released this year. There are a number of reasons for this. The music (recorded between 1959 and 1961) sees the young Berry Gordy reaching out for some kind of signature sound – a mix of old school doo-wop and new wave soul, and showing no fear in borrowing, copying and filching anything he felt might help him score hits on the Satintones. So, listening you’ll hear flavours of then chart groups like the Coasters (‘Sugar Daddy’ is almost note-for-note the Coasters’ ‘Poison Ivy’) and the Drifters’ (‘My Beloved’ is an attempt to recreate the magic of their ‘There Goes My baby’). Indeed such a tactic brought Gordy into litigation (something he was , of course, to get very used to). The song ‘Tomorrow And Always’ (originally credited to Motown’s Janie Bradford and Satintone, Robert Bateman) was a complete steal of Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ and after a legal judgement Gordy grudgingly gave the copyright back to the Brill Building pair. That of course, doesn’t make the music any less enjoyable… in fact it’s all a wonderful, memory -jerking evocation of an age that’s gone forever. Equally interesting for collectors is the fact that the Satintones claim to have come up with the name of ‘Motown’ for Gordy’s key label. Gordy always ran a number of labels – claiming it was easier to get radio exposure with different labels – and Satintones founder Bateman claims that the boss was so taken by their song ‘Motor City'(their first single on Tamla in 1959) that he shortened it to Motown when he needed a new imprint to fool the DJs (or the revenue – depending on whose accounts you believe!) Whatever, the Satintones’ second single ‘My Beloved’ was issued on the Motown imprint. All the group’s singles are included here along with a whole clutch of previously unissued cuts and though the sound is definitely not “The Sound Of Young America” (not as it came to sound anyway), the album is essential for Motown collectors… but beware, this release is a limited edition and once its gone….
(BB) 4/5