The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1959-1961

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/13/2006
  • Label: Hip-O Select
  • UPC: 602498643310
  • Catalog Number: 000363102
  • Sales rank: 139,823


Disc 1
  1. 1 Come to Me - Marv Johnson (2:19)
  2. 2 Whisper - Marv Johnson (2:32)
  3. 3 Merry-Go-Round (2:15)
  4. 4 It Moves Me (2:15)
  5. 5 Let's Rock (2:04)
  6. 6 Do the Very Best You Can (2:44)
  7. 7 Solid Sender - Chico Leverett (2:31)
  8. 8 I'll Never Love Again - Chico Leverett (2:31)
  9. 9 Snake Walk, Pt. 1 - The Swinging Tigers (2:28)
  10. 10 Snake Walk, Pt. 2 - The Swinging Tigers (2:44)
  11. 11 It (2:44)
  12. 12 Don't Say Bye Bye (2:01)
  13. 13 Going to the Hop (2:11)
  14. 14 Motor City (2:30)
  15. 15 Money (That's What I Want) (2:39)
  16. 16 Oh I Apologize (2:24)
  17. 17 Ich-I-Bon #1 (2:27)
  18. 18 Cool and Crazy (2:13)
  19. 19 Bad Girl - The Miracles (2:42)
  20. 20 I Love Your Baby - The Miracles (2:42)
  21. 21 The Feeling Is So Fine - The Miracles (2:43)
  22. 22 (You Can) Depend on Me - The Miracles (3:08)
  23. 23 My Beloved (2:25)
  24. 24 Sugar Daddy (2:48)
  25. 25 You Never Miss a Good Thing - Eugine Remus (3:12)
  26. 26 Hold Me Tight - Eugine Remus (2:11)
  27. 27 Gotta Have Your Lovin' - Eugine Remus (2:29)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Way Over There - The Miracles (2:58)
  2. 2 (You Can) Depend on Me - The Miracles (2:46)
  3. 3 Way Over There - The Miracles (2:57)
  4. 4 My Beloved (2:27)
  5. 5 You Never Miss a Good Thing - Eugine Remus (3:14)
  6. 6 Yes, No, Maybe So (2:18)
  7. 7 You Knows What to Do (2:48)
  8. 8 Custer's Last Man - Popcorn (3:57)
  9. 9 Shimmy Gully - Popcorn (2:33)
  10. 10 Who Wouldn't Love a Man Like That (2:44)
  11. 11 You Made a Fool Out of Me (2:23)
  12. 12 Whirlwind (2:12)
  13. 13 I'm Gonna Cry (If You Quit Me) (2:55)
  14. 14 Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells (2:54)
  15. 15 Please Forgive Me - Mary Wells (2:40)
  16. 16 What Makes You Love Him - Sammy Ward (2:36)
  17. 17 That Child Is Really Wild - Sammy Ward (2:45)
  18. 18 Who's the Fool - Sammy Ward (2:42)
  19. 19 Shop Around - The Miracles (3:03)
  20. 20 Who's Lovin' You - The Miracles (3:02)
  21. 21 True Love (2:11)
  22. 22 It's You (2:03)
  23. 23 Shop Around - The Miracles (2:48)
  24. 24 Oh Lover - Sherri Taylor (2:56)
  25. 25 That's Why I Love You So Much - Sherri Taylor (2:04)
  26. 26 I've Got a Notion - Henry Lumpkin (2:33)
  27. 27 We Really Love Each Other - Henry Lumpkin (2:37)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Don't Feel Sorry for Me (2:23)
  2. 2 Heart (2:45)
  3. 3 Don't Let Him Shop Around (2:45)
  4. 4 A New Girl (2:26)
  5. 5 Ain't It Baby - The Miracles (2:33)
  6. 6 The Only One I Love - The Miracles (2:34)
  7. 7 Money and Me (2:37)
  8. 8 You've Got What It Takes (3:03)
  9. 9 When I Needed You - Little Iva & Her Band (2:55)
  10. 10 Continental Strut - Little Iva & Her Band (2:27)
  11. 11 Whole Lotta Woman (2:49)
  12. 12 Come on and Be Mine (2:40)
  13. 13 I Want a Guy - The Supremes (3:05)
  14. 14 Never Again - The Supremes (3:02)
  15. 15 He Lifted Me - Gospel Stars (4:04)
  16. 16 Behold the Saints of God - Gospel Stars (2:45)
  17. 17 Poor Sam Jones - Mickey Woods (2:44)
  18. 18 They Rode Through the Valley - Mickey Woods (2:39)
  19. 19 Money (That's What I Want) - Richard Wylie (2:24)
  20. 20 I'll Still Be Around - Richard Wylie (2:53)
  21. 21 Tomorrow and Always (2:38)
  22. 22 A Love That Can Never Be (2:42)
  23. 23 Tomorrow and Always (2:53)
  24. 24 Whole Lotta Woman (2:54)
  25. 25 Blibberin' Blabbin' Blues (2:27)
  26. 26 Don't Say Bye Bye (1:51)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Angel (2:34)
  2. 2 (I'm Afraid) The Masquerade Is Over - Marvin Gaye (5:12)
  3. 3 Witchcraft - Marvin Gaye (2:26)
  4. 4 Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide - Marvin Gaye (3:04)
  5. 5 Never Let You Go (Sha Lu Bop) - Marvin Gaye (2:44)
  6. 6 I Don't Want to Take a Chance - Mary Wells (2:49)
  7. 7 I'm So Sorry - Mary Wells (2:25)
  8. 8 Rosa Lee (Stay Off the Bell) - Andre Williams (2:28)
  9. 9 Shoo-Doo - Andre Williams (3:51)
  10. 10 Misery (2:29)
  11. 11 Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right (2:44)
  12. 12 Broken Hearted - The Miracles (3:00)
  13. 13 Mighty Good Lovin' - The Miracles (2:38)
  14. 14 No Love (2:54)
  15. 15 Looking for a Man (2:35)
  16. 16 Same Thing (2:22)
  17. 17 That's No Lie (2:35)
  18. 18 I Know How It Feels (2:37)
  19. 19 My Kind of Love (2:27)
  20. 20 No Love (2:33)
  21. 21 Buttered Popcorn - The Supremes (2:56)
  22. 22 Who's Lovin' You - The Supremes (2:50)
  23. 23 Buttered Popcorn - The Supremes (2:32)
  24. 24 Oh, Mother of Mine (2:18)
  25. 25 Romance Without Finance (2:48)
  26. 26 I Am Bound - The Golden Harmoneers (2:30)
  27. 27 Precious Memories - The Golden Harmoneers (2:53)
Disc 5
  1. 1 Please Mr. Postman (2:30)
  2. 2 So Long Baby (2:52)
  3. 3 The Stretch (2:41)
  4. 4 Funny (2:57)
  5. 5 Itsy Bity Pity Love (2:48)
  6. 6 But I'm Afraid (2:52)
  7. 7 They Shall Be Mine - Rev. Columbus Mann (2:18)
  8. 8 Jesus Loves - Rev. Columbus Mann (3:20)
  9. 9 Someone to Call My Own (2:06)
  10. 10 You're My Desire (2:22)
  11. 11 Love Me - Pete Hartfield (2:34)
  12. 12 Darling Tonight - Pete Hartfield (2:13)
  13. 13 Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues - The Miracles (2:56)
  14. 14 I Can't Believe - Joel Sebastian (2:51)
  15. 15 Angel in Blue - Joel Sebastian (2:53)
  16. 16 Blue Cinderella - Joel Sebastian (2:08)
  17. 17 Strange Love - Mary Wells (2:41)
  18. 18 Come to Me - Mary Wells (2:16)
  19. 19 The Day Will Come (2:22)
  20. 20 Just for You (2:11)
  21. 21 Have I the Right - Popcorn (2:29)
  22. 22 Real Good Lovin' - Popcorn (2:26)
  23. 23 Zing Went the Strings of My Heart (2:59)
  24. 24 Faded Letter (2:46)
Disc 6
  1. 1 Jamie (2:24)
  2. 2 Take a Chance on Me (2:35)
  3. 3 Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) - The Valadiers (2:46)
  4. 4 Take a Chance (2:14)
  5. 5 Actions Speak Louder Than Words (2:50)
  6. 6 Take Me (3:10)
  7. 7 What Makes You Love Him (2:33)
  8. 8 Don't Take It Away (2:48)
  9. 9 Check Yourself (2:43)
  10. 10 Your Wonderful Love (2:47)
  11. 11 Small Sad Sam (2:41)
  12. 12 Tie Me Tight (2:13)
  13. 13 Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now) (2:24)
  14. 14 I'll Call You (2:19)
  15. 15 Xmas Twist (2:43)
  16. 16 White House Twist (2:33)
  17. 17 Please Mr. Kennedy - Mickey Woods (2:32)
  18. 18 (They Call Me) Cupid - Mickey Woods (2:45)
  19. 19 Twistin' Postman (2:29)
  20. 20 I Want a Guy (2:38)
  21. 21 What's So Good About Good Bye - The Miracles (2:22)
  22. 22 I've Been Good to You - The Miracles (2:40)
  23. 23 Congo, Pt. 1 (2:13)
  24. 24 Congo, Pt. 2 (2:54)
Disc 7
  1. 1 Money (That's What I Want)
  2. 2 Oh I Apoligize
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Norman Whitfield Vocals, Accompaniment
The Rayber Voices Vocals, Accompaniment
Technical Credits
Marv Johnson Composer
Carole King Composer
Smokey Robinson Composer
Jimmy Ruffin Composer
Mary Wells Composer
Andre Williams Composer, Producer
Cy Coleman Composer
Donald Davis Composer
Gerry Goffin Composer
Barrett Strong Composer
James Young Composer
Mable John Liner Notes
Ronald Dunbar Composer
Melvin Franklin Composer
Harvey Fuqua Composer
Gwen Fuqua Composer
Anna Gordy Gaye Composer
Berry Gordy Jr. Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
Riley Hampton Arranger
Brian Holland Composer, Producer
Georgia Jones Composer
Eddie Kendricks Composer
Herbert Magidson Composer
Don McKenzie Composer
Rex Robertson Composer
Sonny Sanders Composer
William "Mickey" Stevenson Composer, Producer
Norman Whitfield Composer
Allie Wrubel Composer
Bill Dahl Song Notes
Robert Gordy Composer
Vartan Art Direction
Joe Billingslea Composer
Georgia Dobbins Composer
Billy Gordon Composer
Marvin Tarplin Composer
The Valadiers Composer
Mattie Moss Clark Composer
Earl Brooks Composer
Ronald White Composer
Barney Ales Composer, Producer
William Garrett Composer
William Mitchell Composer
Carolyn Leigh Composer
Janie Bradford Composer, Producer
James F. Hanley Composer
Sunny Skylar Composer
Charles Leverett Composer
Robert Bateman Composer, Producer
Don Juan Mancha Composer
Rev. Columbus Mann Composer
Richard Wylie Composer, Producer
Jeff Smith Art Direction
Craig Werner Liner Notes
Chester Scott Composer
Ryan Null Photo Coordination
Michele Horie Art Direction
Al Quattrocchi Art Direction
Freddie Gorman Composer
George Fowler Composer
Pete Hartfield Composer
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