The Complete Motown Singles
Volume 7: 1967 (Hip-OSelect.com)
The B-sides have it. This being The Complete Motown Singles, 1-9-6-7, Gladys Knight & the Pips' percolating "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," a vinyl 45 of which resides in the front cover to Hip-O Select's Internet-only scrapbook No. 7, represents only one platinum-toed best foot forward. Four Tops soul-possessed Levi Stubbs exorcising "Bernadette"; the Mount Everest of duets, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's free-flight "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"; Stevie Wonder's wondrous "I Was Made to Love Her"; the warm jets of "More Love" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, whose oozing "I Second That Emotion" opens faucets wide with the Temptations' Bill Withers blueprint "I Wish It Would Rain." Reigning hits all but only half this 5-CD story. As usual, Martha & the Vandellas ("Jimmy Mack") trump the Supremes ("Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"), yet it's the former's flip side, "Third Finger, Left Hand," that rings revelation. Likewise, Miracles B-side "Come Spy With Me" outwits its A-sider, "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage." Barbara McNair's rich "Here I Am Baby" can't compete with the gravitas she imbues the Supremes' "My World Is Empty Without You." Meanwhile, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" rejoinder "Give a Little Love" is equally delicious. None of that accounts for flinty garage rock by the Underdogs opening the first disc, nor Minnesota's Messengers doing their best Simon & Garfunkel on the A-side and going "Calfornia Soul" with the Nick Ashford/Valerie Simpson-penned other. Even fallen Mousketeer Paul Peterson acquits himself. The glue includes Jr. Walker's "Shotgun" reload, "Pucker Up Buttercup," Brenda Holloway's plaintive "Starting the Hurt All Over Again," the Elgins' elegant "It's Been a Long Long Time," and Eddie Kendricks' falsetto bloodletting on "You're My Everything." Gaye's closing serenity prayer, "Change What You Can," sanctifies another B-side from a triple-A time capsule of 40 years ago.