CD The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1959-1961 (CD 1145069),
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The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1959-1961

  • 1. Come to Me - Marv Johnson
    2. Whisper - Marv Johnson
    3. Merry-Go-Round - Eddie Holland
    4. It Moves Me - Eddie Holland
    5. Let's Rock - Barrett Strong
    6. Do the Very Best You Can - Barrett Strong
    7. Solid Sender - Leverett, Chico
    8. I'll Never Love Again - Leverett, Chico
    9. Snake Walk, Pt. 1 - Beans Bowles & The Swinging Tygers
    10. Snake Walk, Pt. 2 - Beans Bowles & The Swinging Tygers
    11. It - Ron & Bill
    12. Don't Say Bye Bye - Ron & Bill
    13. Going to the Hop - The Satintones
    14. Motor City - The Satintones
    15. Money (That's What I Want) - Barrett Strong
    16. Oh I Apologize - Barrett Strong
    17. Ich-I-Bon #1 - Nick & the Jaguars
    18. Cool and Crazy - Nick & the Jaguars
    19. Bad Girl - The Miracles
    20. I Love Your Baby - The Miracles
    21. Feeling Is So Fine, The - The Miracles
    22. (You Can) Depend on Me - The Miracles
    23. My Beloved - The Satintones
    24. Sugar Daddy - The Satintones
    25. You Never Miss a Good Thing - Remus, Eugene
    26. Hold Me Tight - Remus, Eugene
    27. Gotta Have Your Lovin' - Remus, Eugene
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Way Over There - The Miracles
    2. (You Can) Depend on Me - The Miracles
    3. Way Over There - The Miracles
    4. My Beloved - The Satintones
    5. You Never Miss a Good Thing - Remus, Eugene
    6. Yes, No, Maybe So - Barrett Strong
    7. You Knows What to Do - Barrett Strong
    8. Custer's Last Man - The Mohawks/Popcorn Wylie
    9. Shimmy Gully - The Mohawks/Popcorn Wylie
    10. Who Wouldn't Love a Man Like That - Mable John
    11. You Made a Fool Out of Me - Mable John
    12. Whirlwind - Barrett Strong
    13. I'm Gonna Cry (If You Quit Me) - Barrett Strong
    14. Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells
    15. Please Forgive Me - Mary Wells
    16. What Makes You Love Him - Sammy Ward
    17. That Child Is Really Wild - Sammy Ward
    18. Who's the Fool - Sammy Ward
    19. Shop Around - The Miracles
    20. Who's Lovin' You - The Miracles
    21. True Love - Herman Griffin
    22. It's You - Herman Griffin
    23. Shop Around - The Miracles
    24. Oh Lover - Sammy Ward/Sherri Taylor
    25. That's Why I Love You So Much - Sammy Ward/Sherri Taylor
    26. I've Got a Notion - Henry Lumpkin
    27. We Really Love Each Other - Henry Lumpkin
    0. DISC 3:
    1. Don't Feel Sorry for Me - Jimmy Ruffin
    2. Heart - Jimmy Ruffin
    3. Don't Let Him Shop Around - Debbie Dean
    4. New Girl, A - Debbie Dean
    5. Ain't It Baby - The Miracles
    6. Only One I Love, The - The Miracles
    7. Money and Me - Barrett Strong
    8. You've Got What It Takes - Barrett Strong
    9. When I Needed You - Little Iva & Her Band
    10. Continental Strut - Little Iva & Her Band
    11. Whole Lotta Woman - The Contours
    12. Come on and Be Mine - The Contours
    13. I Want a Guy - The Supremes
    14. Never Again - The Supremes
    15. He Lifted Me - Gospel Stars
    16. Behold the Saints of God - Gospel Stars
    17. Poor Sam Jones - Woods, Mickey
    18. They Rode Through the Valley - Woods, Mickey
    19. Money (That's What I Want) - Richard Wylie
    20. I'll Still Be Around - Richard Wylie
    21. Tomorrow and Always - The Satintones
    22. Love That Can Never Be, A - The Satintones
    23. Tomorrow and Always - The Satintones
    24. Whole Lotta Woman - The Contours
    25. Blibberin' Blabbin' Blues - Gino Parks
    26. Don't Say Bye Bye - Gino Parks
    0. DISC 4:
    1. Angel - The Satintones
    2. (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over - Marvin Gaye
    3. Witchcraft - Marvin Gaye
    4. Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide - Marvin Gaye
    5. Never Let You Go (Sha Lu Bop) - Marvin Gaye
    6. I Don't Want to Take a Chance - Mary Wells
    7. I'm So Sorry - Mary Wells
    8. Rosa Lee (Stay Off the Bell) - Andre Williams
    9. Shoo-Doo - Andre Williams
    10. Misery - Barrett Strong
    11. Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right - Barrett Strong
    12. Broken Hearted - The Miracles
    13. Mighty Good Lovin' - The Miracles
    14. No Love - Mable John
    15. Looking for a Man - Mable John
    16. Same Thing - Gino Parks
    17. That's No Lie - Gino Parks
    18. I Know How It Feels - The Satintones
    19. My Kind of Love - The Satintones
    20. No Love - Mable John
    21. Buttered Popcorn - The Supremes
    22. Who's Lovin' You - The Supremes
    23. Buttered Popcorn - The Supremes
    24. Oh, Mother of Mine - The Temptations
    25. Romance Without Finance - The Temptations
    26. I Am Bound - The Golden Harmoneers
    27. Precious Memories - The Golden Harmoneers
    0. DISC 5:
    1. Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes
    2. So Long Baby - The Marvelettes
    3. Stretch, The - The Contours
    4. Funny - The Contours
    5. Itsy Bity Pity Love - Debbie Dean
    6. But I'm Afraid - Debbie Dean
    7. They Shall Be Mine - Mann, Rev. Columbus
    8. Jesus Loves - Mann, Rev. Columbus
    9. Someone to Call My Own - Equadors
    10. You're My Desire - Equadors
    11. Love Me
    12. Darling Tonight
    13. Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues - The Miracles
    14. I Can't Believe - The Miracles
    15. Angel in Blue - Sebastian, Joel
    16. Blue Cinderella - Sebastian, Joel
    17. Strange Love - Mary Wells
    18. Come to Me - Mary Wells
    19. Day Will Come, The - Freddie Gorman
    20. Just for You - Freddie Gorman
    21. Have I the Right - The Mohawks/Popcorn Wylie
    22. Real Good Lovin' - The Mohawks/Popcorn Wylie
    23. Zing Went the Strings of My Heart - The Satintones
    24. Faded Letter - The Satintones
    0. DISC 6:
    1. Jamie - Eddie Holland
    2. Take a Chance on Me - Eddie Holland
    3. Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) - The Valadiers
    4. Take a Chance - The Valadiers
    5. Actions Speak Louder Than Words - Mable John
    6. Take Me - Mable John
    7. What Makes You Love Him - Sammy Ward
    8. Don't Take It Away - Sammy Ward
    9. Check Yourself - The Temptations
    10. Your Wonderful Love - The Temptations
    11. Small Sad Sam - Bob Kayli
    12. Tie Me Tight - Bob Kayli
    13. Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now) - Don McKenzie
    14. I'll Call You - Don McKenzie
    15. Xmas Twist - Twistin' Kings
    16. White House Twist - Twistin' Kings
    17. Please Mr. Kennedy - Woods, Mickey
    18. (They Call Me) Cupid - Woods, Mickey
    19. Twistin' Postman - The Marvelettes
    20. I Want a Guy - The Marvelettes
    21. What's So Good About Good Bye - The Miracles
    22. I've Been Good to You - The Miracles
    23. Congo, Pt. 1 - Twistin' Kings
    24. Congo, Pt. 2 - Twistin' Kings
    0. DISC 7:
    1. Money (That's What I Want) - Barrett Strong
    2. Oh I Apoligize - Barrett Strong
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 0003631

  • Credits

    The Complete Motown Singles has been a dream project of Motown and soul fanatics for many years, ever since the first decade of Stax/Volt singles was compiled in an impressive nine-disc box set in 1991. Prior to that, no soul label had its output as thoroughly documented as that set -- there had been the Atlantic R&B box, which collected highlights, but it never attempted to capture the label's entire run -- and while The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 missed a B-side or two, it was an exceptional piece of music history, and pretty damn entertaining to boot. It was so good that it seemed like Motown would be a natural to receive the same treatment, since the label not only had a greater impact -- not just musically, but culturally -- but it had a much more diverse roster, which would make for an exciting set. The Complete Motown Singles might have seemed like a logical move to soul collectors and fanatics, but it remained in the realm of fantasy for many years because, as enticing as that set was, it was difficult to create. First, there was the perennial problem of Motown reissues, where the label is always inclined to recycle the familiar hits instead of dig deep into the vaults. That situation improved in the early '90s, after Universal acquired the catalog and began to release sturdy sets like the Hitsville USA box and multi-disc sets by the Temptations and the Four Tops, but even with the success of these releases, there was reluctance to launch a project like The Complete Motown Singles for two big reasons. One, it was a massive project, dwarfing the Stax/Volt output, which could be squeezed into three nine-disc sets by eliminating only a few B-sides and a handful of singles without anybody but scholars and obsessives knowing the difference. Motown's classic period of 1959-1972 featured hundreds of songs -- roughly 50 discs' worth of music, which lead to the second big problem, which is that even if the label approved such a set, it would not be commercially feasible, since no store would stock such a series, no matter how it was broken up.
    Such was the state of affairs until the turn of the millennium, when speciality music retailing finally had an outlet via the Internet. Universal had its own Internet-only label, Hip-O Select, which finally provided an avenue for the release of The Complete Motown Singles, which was launched after a long, long wait in early 2005 with the six-disc set Vol. 1: 1959-1961. It was the first installment of a planned 12-volume series of box sets that would cover all Motown singles, including all variations of the singles and all of the label's subsidiaries, from 1959 to 1972, when the label moved its home office from Detroit to Los Angeles. All the songs would be presented in their original single form (usually meaning a mono mix), transferred from vinyl if necessary (since master tapes for many of the rarities have vanished), and each box would be packaged as a deluxe hardcover book, with a reproduced 45 of an original Motown hit incorporated as part of the cover artwork, while the inside would contain rare photos and contain a wealth of information in the track-by-track notes by Bill Dahl and Keith Hughes. In short, it's a lavish, ambitious series, and a pricey one as well -- the first set retails at 119.95 dollars, averaging 20 dollars a disc, which means that the whole series will cost about 1,000 dollars when all is said and done. So, it's a considerable investment, but there's little question of whether it's worthwhile: based on this introductory installment, the answer is an unequivocal, enthusiastic yes. And that doesn't just apply to Motown fanatics, either: this set, and by extension this series, is essential for anybody who deeply loves 20th century American popular music and culture. Naturally, a set this large demands the listener's attention, and while it will reward that close attention tenfold, it's also true that the set is not for everybody, perhaps not even Motown fans who love the classic mid-'60s sound at the expense of everything else. That sound is not heard here, although the driving, insistent dance beat of the label's earliest is, in the form of such early hits as the Miracles' "Shop Around," Barrett Strong's "Money," and the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman." But the point of this set is not the hits, which are easily found elsewhere. The point of the set is to hear it all, to find the forgotten treasures, to hear the songs that were mistakes next to the songs that should have been hits, to hear the label evolve over the years.
    In these early years covered on The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1, Berry Gordy was trying a little bit of everything with Motown, seeing what would stick. He would imitate the sound of other labels, like Chicago's Vee Jay, or artists like Jackie Wilson. He would jump onto trends, like the twist, or blatantly rip off hits on the chart. He recorded outright novelties, including several songs to President Kennedy. He recorded lite jazz, gospel, blues, even surf rock. He did a little bit of everything, seeing what would sell. Not all of this was good, some of it was lame, some of it was outright silly, but some of it was great, including a lot of hard-driving R&B dance numbers that have the roots of the classic Motown sound. Gordy may have steered Motown all over the place during the early years documented on this set -- and not just before they had hits, because he was just as scattershot after the hits started to come -- but there's a raw, invigorating vitality to his attempts to hit pay dirt, which makes the lesser songs here rise above curiosity to being quite compelling music. Plus, there's a nice side effect to having Motown try so many different sounds: it winds up giving a good idea of what the R&B market sounded like in the early '60s, giving a good context for Motown's big hits. And in this context, these shopworn standards sound as vital and exciting as they did when they first hit the airwaves, which is something that smaller, concentrated sets just can't provide. That ability to re-create the sound, feel, and excitement of the early days of Motown -- something that has long been forgotten due to the overfamiliarity of much of this music -- is the reason why this set is so essential to anybody who loves soul and pop music. The fact that it also has a treasure trove of great, largely unheard early Motown singles almost seems like a bonus in comparison, but it's also another reason why this set isn't merely worth the long wait, but why it comes close to seeming like a dream finally fulfilled. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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