Whole Lotta Motown Goin On…
It’s Motown’s 50th anniversary and I’ll bet nobody at Berry Gordy’s shop in 1961 ever imagined that we’d be observing it like this. I really like the packaging on the 50th Anniversary: Singles Collection 1961-1971 for both the Temptations and the Supremes. Each are three cd sets in book form featuring every single each group produced, both A and B side and a bunch more. (The Complete Motown Singles series used the same format.) Each has this box set is accompanied by a booklet filled with detailed information about each single, reproductions of their picture sleeves from around the world, and rare photos. I prefer the Tempts’ grittiness to the Supremes’ prettiness (and Levi Stubs and the fabulous Four Tops to both) but these are really handsome, information-filled packages—I really love this new trend where music consumers are being treated as amateur historians, it makes for so much richer an experience-and there’s plenty of stuff in both sets that very few people will already have. More here and here.
In addition, there are some wonderful performances, but not much in the way of information on the two DVD collections, Best of the Temptations on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Best of the Supremes on the Ed Sullivan Show and both are pretty cheap, but if you’re the kind of person who wants either one of those, then you’d have to be really crazy not to want the double CD, and also pretty reasonable, Motown Gold From the Ed Sullivan Show. It includes performances by the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Martha & The Vandellas and Gladys Knight & The Pips, and is the best visual collection of vintage Motown you’re likely to find anywhere and a delight from start to finish.