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The Velvelettes

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The Velvelettes The Motown Anthology Motown 980 937-2

This is a collection of 48 tracks, the majority not previously available in the versions included on this double CD. About twelve of the cuts were issued on the Best of The Velvelettes released in the US in 1989. There are no original Mono single mixes of The Velvelettes A sides on this album. Their "hits" are represented by alternative takes or stereo versions.

This is a great album, which covers the period from 1963/67, and ranges from the early Motown girl group sound of Selfish Lover (Stevenson/Whitfield) to late period sophisticated Motown with "Bring Back The Sunshine" (Ashford/Simpson). It also includes five songs from the Battle of the Stars, Live at the Greystone and four previously unreleased songs en Francais.

I'm bouncing through the tracks as I type this and an unreleased "A Love So Deep Inside" is rocking the speakers with a great four on the floor beat. This is bound to be cut to acetate for Northern Soul DJ's. Here' a Shangri Las's spoken intro and advice for girls on "He's the One". Smokey Robinson experiments with the rhythm track on "Something's Happening" and even though it's Caldin 'Carolyn' Gill singing lead you can tell she listened carefully Smokey sang it to her.

There's another gem in "(We've got) Honey Love" written by Cal's husband to be Richard Street (and Sylvia Moy)

The five live tracks are taken from The Battle of the Stars and are not particularly well recorded or mixed but the vocals are great and you can hear why the Velvelettes beat out the Supremes on their own Detroit turf.

To complete the set there are four French language versions of Motown songs including three the Velvelettes don't appear to have recorded in English. "Puisque Je sais Qu'il Est a Mois", "Tu perds Le Plus Mervieileux Garcon Du monde" (the only HDH song on the album) and "Je Veux Crier" "(My foolish heart [keeps hanging on to a memory])". I am sure your school French will enable you to translate the other titles.

I've already played "Le Hokey Pokey" on Reflections on Northern Soul and I look forward to introducing it to the young dancers at The GoGo in Edinburgh.

The sleeve notes are written by The Velvelettes and I think you should read them when you buy the album rather than me copying them out but Berry Gordy's thinking behind the above recordings should be quoted.

"Berry discovered Cal had majored in French and spoke French quite well. He teamed the five girls with a French producer, Pierre Berjot. Berry was very fascinated and took great pleasure in listening to Pierre and Cal converse in French. The four songs showcased Cal's ability as a lead singer to record in French" Of course what did Berry do with the recordings? Well nothing, as they were never released not even in Motown mad France. Maybe he was anticipating a time when technology would catch up and Motown maniacs with disposable income would want the vaults emptied. Not that it takes much disposable income to purchase this box set.

I don't know why The Velvelettes did not have an album issued in their sixties hey day but Motown has certainly made up for it now.

This is a great album for Motown fans, Girl group enthusiasts and Northern Soul fanatics.

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