By January 1972, the Motor City assembly line stretched all the way to Los Angeles, where soul-pop's Henry Ford – Motown monarch Berry Gordy Jr. – had finally begun his queen Diana Ross' film career with Lady Sings the Blues. Detroit's hit-churning record plant never looked back. Back cranking out inner city R&B alongside promworthy chart clutches after a five-year layoff, the mammoth Complete Motown Singles series finally nears completion with the first half of its final volume. After a dozen lush 45 rpm single binders beginning in 2004 and stalled four years later thanks to licensing issues, another 5-CD hope chest brings the total number of discs in this unparalleled collection to 70. And it's business as usual beginning with the first platter. From the urban symphonies of the Four Tops ("L.A. [My Town]") and the Jackson 5 bandwagon of the Undisputed Truth ("California Soul"), to the blue cheer of Blue Scepter ("Gypsy Eyes"), the era's war-torn, Watergate soundtrack continues bouncing on a wing and a prayer like first-disc closer "Love is Here and Now You're Gone" from Michael Jackson. Gospel rock via Junior Walker & the All-Stars, psychedelic temptation(s) from Edwin Starr ("Ball of Confusion"), and Gladys Knight landmark disc two, while former Temptation Eddie Kendricks' sweet falsetto ("Eddie's Love") and Whitney Houston's powerhouse aunt Thelma taking on Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" crown the third dance. Marvin Gaye flounders on CD four, but Smokey Robinson never misses a step, and Howl the Good's "Long Way From Home" apes Three Dog Night's "The Family of Man." The final disc, crickets. Berry sold Motown in 1988 and the imprint continues today, and although there's no release date yet for Vol. 12B, this penultimate entry in luxury vehicles brings us one step closer to bankruptcy in Detroit.
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