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Pre-History: Lost Steeltown Recordings

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 4, 1996
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Let Me Carry Your Schoolbooks
  2. I Never Had A Girl
  3. Monologue
  4. Michael The Lover
  5. We Don't Have To Be Over 21 (To Fall In Love)
  6. Big Boy
  7. You've Changed
  8. Jam Session (Part One)
  9. My Girl
  10. Jam Session (Part Two)
  11. Under The Boardwalk
  12. Soul Jerk
  13. Saturday Night At The Movies
  14. Tracks Of My Tears


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Brunswick Records
  • ASIN: B000004BNF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,821 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Jackson 5 Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is not a bad collection of music to pick up for its historic value (or for J5/MJ completists), however you'll want to skip this edition.

As you probably know, The Jackson 5 were signed to the Steeltown Records label before their contract was bought up by Motown. They managed to release a few singles beforehand and recorded some other music that never saw the light of day. The music is not the J5's best work (but you can see the potential in them), nor is it in great shape, but considering the source of the masters, it can be forgiven.

However, for those picking these songs up today, it should be noted that Amazon sells far cheaper editions in Jackson 5: The Legend Begins and Jackson 5: Original Steeltown Recordings between the two you can grab up all the songs for $10). (There's also an edition called Boys & Girls: The Original Sessions available as a CD edition for those that want the disc.)

You'll notice that I NEVER HAD A GIRL and LET ME CARRY YOUR SCHOOL BOOKS from this CD are not included among either of those editions, but that's because THEY ARE NOT JACKSON 5 SONGS. I Never Had A Girl & Let Me Carry Your School Books were recorded in the late 60s by a local Gary, Indiana band called Ripples and Waves Plus Michael (it has been confirmed that the Michael is not Michael Jackson and none of the other band members are from the J5). Steeltown mistakenly put the two songs on this CD and collectors have shelled out big bucks for this edition ever since. I tried to link to an article that explains all this and shows a picture of the Ripples & Waves band, but Amazon wasn't cool with that... just Google the band name and you'll see.
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Format: Audio CD
In one respect this is a wonderful collection of the Jacksons' pre-Motown work. The studio recorded material - basically the first half of the disc - is presented in the best quality possible, and thankfully NOT overdubbed with new instrumentation as has happened on a number of other discs where this material has been collected. Sadly though the disc is flawed, as the rehearsal taped material on the second half of it DOES suffer from the overdubbing problem. It is actually quite hard to find this material in its original, pristine state - I have come across it on only two or three occasions on budget European releases - and it is sad that this collection falls down here, despite the contrary claim on the rather misleading sleeve note!
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Format: Audio CD
This is an awesome CD presenting the Jackon 5's first 14 songs ever recorded. It's biggest hit is "Big Boy" which is so bluesy it just wouln't fit the motown sound because it is to soulful. It also features some other outstanding material including "Michael the Lover", an early version of "You've Changed", "We don't have to be over 21 to fall in love" which almost has a motown glow, "I never had a girl" which suffers from a keyed out melody. About half of this collection was never released (the other half on STEELTOWN singles) and on the label it says that the sound wasn't improved on for "historical" reasons making the last half sound somewhat strange, the music is great but the vocals have not been mixed up making it hard to hear the singing. I just wish they mixed up the song called "Under the Boardwalk" because what I could hear sounds awesome but would be a whole lot cooler if the vocals were turned up. An interesting begin for one of the most creative and musical families that became world famous musical geniuses!!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
Quality of recording on a couple songs is not great, but it's definitely worth purchasing! One phenomenol cut is "A Fool for You". Michael is astoundingly talented at such a young age--a talent he was obviously born with! His vocal expression is untouchable! The other recordings on the record are enjoyable, PLUS a short "Introduction" that includes dialogue between the brothers, especially Jackie and Jermaine--very enjoyable!
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Format: Audio CD
The J-5's debut recordings (along with drummer "Cousin" Johnny Jackson) were somewhat poorly recorded at Steeltown Records (actually the home of producer Gordon Keith) in the Fall of 1967. Mostly low-budget R&B, but some good stuff shines. The very 1st J/5 record "Big Boy" is here with the "killer bass line" that MJ would later describe in his book "Moonwalk." They try their hand at doo-wop in "I Never Had a Girl." Joe Jackson himself joins his sons on "Jam Session #1," a weak approximation of Jr. Walker's "Cleo's Back." The Motownesque "We Don't Have to Be Over 21 to Fall in Love" is about as awkward as it sounds. The rehearsal tapes that were added to this CD are unspeakable, with one exception-the lively and rocking "Jam Session Pt. 2." (where the title of my review comes from). Also recommended on this CD are "Micheal the Lover" and the entertaining "Let Me Carry Your Schoolbooks." The latter is not as juvenile as it sounds. As a whole, this is mostly for collectors and completists, but worthy of a listen.
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