Motown Around The World - The Classic Singles
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The appeal of the Motown sound was way too universal to contain within English-speaking countries. Here, for the first time, are all the foreign-language singles Motown artists released during its classic era plus bonus cuts; they tackle Italian ( You Can't Hurry Love Supremes; My Girl Temptations; My Cherie Amour Stevie Wonder; Reach Out I'll Be There Four Tops), German ( How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You Marvin Gaye; Where Did Our Love Go Supremes), Spanish ( A Place in the Sun Stevie Wonder) and French (four Velvelettes rarities). 38 tracks!
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IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES; Then This Is The CD FOR YOU...! LOVE Hearing SMOKEY Sing:> "BEING WITH YOU"..!
Originally released in 1990 as a single compact disc, Motown Around The World: The Classic Singles now re-released as a limited two disc set on Hip-0 Select, and what an aural and visual treat it is indeed. When opened, this digitpak package reveals two photographs of opened suitcases, filled with vintage period clothing such as the male and female group members may have worn on stage. The liner notes are encased in a booklet designed like a passport filled with rare photographs of the original 45 rpm picture cover sleees for the European releases, complete with session notes and an informative essay. And to further add to the excellent packaging, there is a set of travel decals from around the world to stick on to your suitcase.
Of course it's what's in the grooves that counts and this set doesn't disappoint. The Supremes, Four Tops, Temptations, Marvin Gaye The Velvelettes, Martha & The Vandellas, Jermaine Jackson and Smokey Robinson are all represented here. However, it's Stevie Wonder and Edwin Starr who to the ears of this reviewer, come off the best here.
It is somewhat bizarre to listen to Diana Ross et al warble their way phonetically in German and Italian to their biggest early hits and they were probably glad to get the sessions over with, but the fact remains that while these reworkings may not have vaulted all the way up the charts across Europe like they did on the other side of the pond, they are fun to listen to. Who knew that the backing "ooooooooooohs" by Mary and Flo could sound as sexy and soulful in German and Italian as they did in English!
As Andrew Flory points out in his booklet notes, the majority of these recordings were translated classics, but a few songs such as Moonlight and Kisses, Thank You Darling, Blue Bird and Sympatica were entirely new compositions by European songwriters. Some of the Motown re-recordings, even departed from the original, adding new instruments or were remixed in the process. As well, many of the lyrics come across as unintentionally comic in translation.
That Berry Gordy was a musical genius was never in doubt, and this soul curiosity is ample proof of the foresight he had in his vision that the Sound of Young America could indeed be a calling out around the world for dancing in the street. Big fun, and sure to place a wide grin on your face. A solid five stars!