Singles+

The Singles+

by The Four Tops
     
 

One really wants to love this imported two-CD set, and there is some good reason to -- but not as much as there should be. Until its release, listeners could reasonably have despaired of ever seeing much more of the Four Tops' legacy in print in digital audio; Motown Records was seemingly content recycling the same hits over and over,…  See more details below

Overview

One really wants to love this imported two-CD set, and there is some good reason to -- but not as much as there should be. Until its release, listeners could reasonably have despaired of ever seeing much more of the Four Tops' legacy in print in digital audio; Motown Records was seemingly content recycling the same hits over and over, while the box set on the group's history, reportedly prepared back in 1997, waited several years to be released. The Singles+ isn't that, but it is the most comprehensive look at the group's 45s yet to show up; and, because of MCA-Universal's acquisition of various other labels over the years, it was possible to gather the group's entire output from 1964 through 1988 together in one place. The mid-priced set uses state-of-the-art masters, so that Levi Stubbs sounds like he's in the same room with the listener, his every breath vivid on "Baby I Need Your Lovin'." The rub, alas (and it is a big one) is that the producers have used the stereo masters throughout -- on the post-1966 material, this isn't an issue, but on the early singles, it's a trade-off situation. Those 1964-1966 cuts lack some portion of their original rhythmic punch, but show a very clear picture of how deceptively busy their arrangements were. Most of the time the exchange works, but not on every song -- on "I Can't Help Myself," the isolation of the drums and tambourine on the right-hand channel is distracting, and the sax break seems muted where it should be thick and hard; on the other hand, the electric guitar and saxes that open "Something About You" are in your lap, and the division of the voices makes it possible to appreciate the workmanship of the quartet's performances. By "Shake Me, Wake Me," there's no impact lost at all, and the stereo is a virtue -- during "Reach Out," however, one wants to re-combine the two channels in order to eliminate the distracting separation of the chorus and the lead vocal. From 1967 onward (starting with "Bernadette," when stereo recording became standard), all of the voices and instruments are in balance and sound as they should. Among the rarities included on this set are two of the group's most unexpected recordings -- surrounding the exquisitely soaring soul shouter "(It's the Way) Nature Planned It" are "A Simple Game" and "So Deep Within You," two songs authored by Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues and produced by the latter group's recording manager, Tony Clarke. The Dunhill and ABC recordings, done under the aegis of co-producer Steve Barri, also fare very nicely, and there's plenty of good music, charted and otherwise, to keep fans busy luxuriating for hours. The annotation could be stronger, but in compensation, we get each song's original release and chart history. And even with its flaws, this set is more interesting than anything to come out on the Four Tops in America in the last several years.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/05/2002
Label:
Br Music Holland
UPC:
8712089812123
catalogNumber:
8121
Rank:
5597

Related Subjects

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Baby I Need Your Loving
  2. Without the One You Love (Life's Not Worth While)
  3. Ask the Lonely
  4. I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
  5. It's the Same Old Song
  6. Something About You
  7. Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)
  8. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
  9. Reach Out (I'll Be There)
  10. Standing in the Shadows of Love
  11. Bernadette
  12. 7-Rooms of Gloom
  13. I'll Turn to Stone
  14. You Keep Running Away
  15. Walk Away Renee
  16. If I Were a Carpenter
  17. I'm a Believer
  18. Yesterday's Dreams
  19. I'm in a Different World
  20. What Is a Man?
  21. Do What You Gotta Do
  22. Don't Let Him Take Your Love from Me
  23. Barbara's Boy
  24. It's All in the Game
  25. Still Water (Love)
  26. Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)
  27. In These Changing Times

Disc 2

  1. MacArthur Park
  2. A Simple Game
  3. (It's the Way) Nature Planned It
  4. So Deep Within' You
  5. I Can't Quit Your Love
  6. Keeper of the Castle
  7. Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)
  8. Sweet Understanding Love
  9. I Just Can't Get You Out of My Mind
  10. One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)
  11. Midnight Flower
  12. Seven Lonely Nights
  13. We All Gotta Stick Together
  14. When She Was My Girl
  15. Let Me Set You Free
  16. Don't Walk Away
  17. Tonight I'm Gonna Love You All Over
  18. Back to School Again
  19. Nobody Loves You Like I Do
  20. Indestructible
  21. Loco in Acapulco

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Four Tops   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Tim Hardin   Composer
Phil Collins   Composer,Producer
Michael Pinder   Composer
Smokey Robinson   Composer
J.R. Bailey   Composer
Gloria Jones   Composer
Barrett Strong   Composer
R. Dean Taylor   Composer,Producer
Jimmy Webb   Composer
Joe Hinton   Composer
Michael Brown   Composer
Steve Barri   Producer
Renaldo Benson   Composer
Johnny Bristol   Producer
Vernon Bullock   Composer
Leonard Caston   Composer
Tony Clarke   Producer
Lamont Dozier   Composer,Producer
Howard Greenfield   Composer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer,Producer
Ivy Jo Hunter   Composer,Producer
Charles Koppelman   Executive Producer
Dennis Lambert   Composer,Producer
Sandy Linzer   Composer
Lawrence Payton   Composer
Brian Potter   Composer,Producer
Bobby Sandstrom   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Pam Sawyer   Composer
Carl Sigman   Composer
Kathy Wakefield   Composer
Norman Whitfield   Composer,Producer
David Wolfert   Composer,Producer
Marc Blatte   Composer
Frank Wilson   Composer,Producer
Richard Knight   Composer
Richard Beasley   Composer
Rudy Clark   Composer
Tony Sansone   Composer
Fred Bridges   Composer
Charles Dawes   Composer
Larry Gottlieb   Composer
Ken Williams   Composer
Michael Williams   Composer
Jack Goga   Composer
Val Benson   Composer
Louis St. Louis   Composer,Producer
Bob Calilli   Composer
Michael Price   Composer

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