In the olden days (I mean the 60s) record buyers regularly had the option to buy “EPs” – “extended play” records that were vinyl 7″ discs (like “singles”) but which offered four (sometimes 6) tracks. They were, I guess, midway between an album and a single and served two purposes. The punters could explore a favourite artist’s repertoire without having to shell out for a full long player while the record labels could showcase new material hoping to tempt buyers to go on and buy full albums.
Here in the UK EMI led the way in the EP stakes and through their deal with Berry Gordy, they regularly released Motown product in EP format in the early 60s. Anyone who bought those Motown EPs back then is now sitting on a potential goldmine. Collectors are hot for original copies and they fetch big, big bucks. They are, though, hard to find. Not too many were ever pressed and even fewer were bought. Back then the record buying public were more interested in Beatle EPs than something from an obscure Detroit (where?) label.
Cutting to the chase, UMC, keen to satisfy collectors’ demand, have reissued various Motown EPs in original vinyl format and this month they are issuing a new set…. imaginatively titled ‘The Early Motown EPs, Volume 2’. The seven 7″ EP records (packed in a nifty box) feature music from The Contours, The Marvelettes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, The Supremes and Kim Weston.
The original discs were released through 1965 and though these new artefacts are reissues they are still hugely nostalgic and significant for serious Motown collectors. All are real memory jerkers and individual Motown buffs will each have their own favourites. The Temptations’ four tracker is particularly strong. The tunes on their disc are ‘My Girl’, ‘I’ll Be In Trouble’. ‘Girl Why You Wanna Make Me Blue’ and ‘The Girl’s Alright With Me’. Those last two are treasured my Motown fans and represent the group at their 60s peak. Sadly they are often neglected. Here’s the opportunity to reacquaint yourself!
The rarest and maybe most interesting EP is the one that features Kim Weston. Never a household name, even the sleeve notes writer wonders why EMI issued an EP on her in the first place. Well, I’m guessing it was because the Beatles had said they were fans and they’d even chosen her to support them on their ’65 US tour. EMI cleary wanted to promote her music on the back of those Beatle connections. Her four songs, by the way, are ‘A Little More Love’, ‘Another Train Coming’, ‘Looking For The Right Guy’ and ‘Go Ahead And Laugh’. Incredibly I did have a copy of this EP. I bought if for about 10 bob (50p) brand new in ’65 from NEMS in Liverpool. I also had EPs on the Impressions and Major Lance. When times became hard (the kids needed shoes!) I was forced to sell some of my records. Kim Weston went (I kept the Impressions) and I often wonder where it is now and what it’s worth. So from a personal point of view I’m delighted to have the EP again…. yes a reissue, but still a fabulous soul artefact… like all the EPs herein!
The box set, by the way, is a limited edition and comes, as is usual, with a voucher to download the music is that’s your wont!