Once upon a time soul fans in general and Motown collectors in particular were regularly treated to archive releases that made available countless long lost treasures and generous helpings of previously unissued material. Over the last few years the stream seems to have slowed but as Autumn beckons, UMC are about to release a gorgeous box set of seven 7″ vinyl singles offering enough vintage Motown to keep the most discerning Motown addict happy as the nights draw in.
Seven discs, two sides, of course, means 14 tracks and , as a long time collector, of those 14, five are new to me and I’m so pleased to be able to add these rarities to my archive. Pride of place goes to Marvin Gaye’s wonderful version of Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’. The cut starts with a happy sounding Gaye ordering, “Roll the tape… I’m gonna kill this!”… and he does! ‘It’s Not Unusual’ is a great song and it lends itself beautifully to a soul setting and this is a remarkable version… check out those soaring strings! The “other side” of ‘It’s Not Unusual’ (we’re talking old fashioned vinyl, remember) is another new one to me. It’s a Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell outing, ‘We’ll be Satisfied’, that’s right up there with their better known recordings. And speaking of dear old Marvin, another new one to me is ‘Show Me The Way’ from J J Barnes… who, as fans of the Detroit icon know, “does a great Marvin Gaye”.
Of the cuts that I was familiar with, I never tire of hearing Patrice Holloway’s look at ‘A Touch Of Venus’ (to my knowledge, the only soul song to reference Botticelli!) while Jimmy Ruffin’s treatment of ‘The In Crowd’ will remind you of what a great soul stylist Jimmy was. There’s the opportunity to compare him with his big brother here as David offers a typically husky, macho ‘It’s Gonna Take a Whole Lot Of Doing’.
Amongst the other featured artists are The Spinners, The Monitors, Kim Weston, Four Tops and Barbara Randolph whose offering is a sweet take on ‘My Love Is Your Love Forever’, a song more usually associated with the Isleys.
Richard Sealing’s notes fill you in with all the details while the box comes with the usual download card allowing you to access the music digitally. Retail price is around £55 and the box will be available from October 21st.