Review : The Supremes - Supreme Rarities: Motown Lost & Found
RollingstonesBetween late 1964 and mid-1967, the Supremes were the closest thing to perfection at Motown Records. All but three of their fourteen charting hits went to Number One. Only one, "Nothing but Heartaches," barely missed the Top Ten. But for every diamond on vinyl, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard — like every other act at Berry Gordy's Detroit grooming factory — cut mountains of discarded tracks that did not live up to his singles-ready standards. This flawed, fascinating two-CD set of outtakes shows that even Gordy's most favored group hit its share of brick walls on the assembly line. While the Beatles covered Motown songs with brawn and sass, the Supremes take on the Fabs' "I Saw Her Standing There" and the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" like singing waitresses at the Peppermint Lounge. Far more compelling are early street-corner-harmony-style numbers with original fourth member Barbara Martin and, in "Hey Baby," a great come-hither-now vocal by Ballard before Gordy pushed Ross up front for good. Near-miss takes of the Number Ones "Back in My Arms Again" and "Love Child" and the unfinished '68 romp "Believe in Me" would have passed muster at any other label. But Gordy's fixation on Ross as his ticket to the L.A.-mogul life means much of Disc Two drowns in strings and standards, often by a solo Ross. An exception is 1969's "You're Gonna Hear From Me," her last studio recording with Wilson and Ballard's replacement, Cindy Birdsong. Ross belts the title line like a kiss-off to the group, but the proud, strong way the others sing "Move over" behind her is a final testament to the power of three....full text
YahooThis limited edition anthology spotlights an impressive fourdozen previously unissued Diana Ross The Supremes selections from the seemingly infinite Motown archives. Of course there have been similarly copious collections of vintage Supremes' rarities, outtakes, remixes and the like. Most notably the highlycollectable 25th Anniversary (1986) and NeverBeforeReleased Masters (1987), not to mention a plethora of additional multiartist packages and expanded editions of classic Supremes' long players. With such a myriad of previous outlets, one could easily presume that these 48 tracks are scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. Luckily for aficionados and enthusiasts of Florence Ballard, Diana Ross and Mary Wilson there seems to be plenty of quality leftovers some of which weren't even known about until the set's producers began their research on Supreme Rarities: Motown Lost Found (2008). Taking a chronological approach, the opener "(You Can) Depend On Me" is one of the very first sides to have been recorded by the ladies. The number was cowritten by Motown founder Berry Gordy and William 'Smokey' Robinson and actually predates the vocalists' 'official' Motown signing. Similarly, the title "Tears Of Sorrow" had been documented by the preSupremes' prototype, the Primettes for a different label. Once joining up with Hitsville USA, they updated it with this "Motown Version". Barbara Martin was still in the group at this point and as Andrew Skurow points out in his songbysong annotations, she can clearly be heard on "Because I Love Him," which is among the sides that Gordy penned specifically for the Supremes. Among his additional contributions are "Hey Baby (Version 1)," "Too Hot (Version 4)," "You're Gonna Come To Me," presented in two separate incarnations and "Come On Boy". All are offered from Gordy in the days before Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, Jr. began churning out the the Supremes' charttoppers. A prime example of their prowess can be found on the appropriatelytitled "Hits Medley: Come See About Me/Baby Love/Stop In The Name Of Love," which was worked up for the Supremes to lipsync to during their highprofile appearance in the June 28, 1965 premiere episode of Dick Clark's teenoriented rock and roll performance show Where The Action Is. Throughout their career, the Supremes covered a wide spectrum of artists and Supreme Rarities includes some interesting nonMotown material. From the world of rock 'n' roll are the Beatles' " I Saw Him (Her) Standing There" and Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," initially meant for the A Bit Of Liverpool project Sam Cooke's "Cupid," Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual," the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"Bacharach and David's "The Look Of Love" and Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park". They join the Bob Merrill/Jule Styne show tune "People," "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and overhauls of pop standards "Canadian Sunset" and "Autumn Leaves" all of which were unbelievably relegated to the cutting room floor. As were the Supremes' interpretation of fellow label mates the Miracles ("Mickey's Monkey"), the Vandellas ("Come And Get These Memories"), Stevie Wonder ("Uptight (Everything's Alright)") and the Four Tops ("I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"). There are even alternates of a few wellknown Supremes' tracks with "Back In My Arms Again," "You Can't Hurry Love," "I'll Set You Free" and "Love Child" being the best examples. The two CDs are visually augmented with lots of photos within the 32page liner notes booklet that is likewise packed with interesting bits of trivia and discographical details thanks to Andrew Skurow's aforementioned text.
- Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide...full text
TowerPart of the MOTOWN LOST AND FOUND series of anthologies trawling the lesser-known corners of the Motown vaults, LET THE MUSIC PLAY: SUPREME RARITIES 1960-1969 is a comprehensive anthology of some of the Supremes' most unjustly overlooked tracks. Starting with rare sides from the period when the band was dismissively known around the Hitsville USA studios as the "No-Hit Supremes," the two-disc, 48-track anthology then covers their tenure as the label's biggest crossover stars and the latter days of the trio, as original member Flo Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong, and Diana Ross left to embark on a solo career. Tracks range from Motownized covers of pop hits like "It's Not Unusual" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to rarities from the great Motown songwriting and production teams....full text
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