SATISFACTION GUARANTEED-MOTOWN GUYS 1961-1969.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED-MOTOWN GUYS 1961-1969.

During the sixties, Berry Gordy Jr’s Motown Records, was a musical colossus. Between 1961 and 1969, seventy-nine of the singles released by Motown reached the top ten in the US Billboard 100. It seemed Motown could do no wrong. That’s not surprising. Look at the artists signed to Motown. 

This included Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Junior Walker and The All Stars, Johnny Bristol, Edwin Starr, Chuck Jackson and The Fantastic Four. Each of these artists played their part in the rise and rise of Motown. These artists also feature on Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969, which was recently released  by Kent Soul, a subsidiary of Ace Records.

Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 is a compilation of twenty-four previously unreleased tracks. Some of these tracks are alternate takes of well known tracks. This includes contributions from some of Motown’s biggest names, including Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. For fans of Motown, Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 is bound to find its way into their record collection. I’ll tell you why that’s bound to be the case, by picking the highlights of Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969.

Opening Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 is Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers’ Satisfaction Is Guaranteed. Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers signed to Motown in 1967. Their debut was Does Your Mama Know About Me, which reached the top thirty in the US Billboard 100 chart. The followup was meant to be Satisfaction Is Guaranteed. It was written by Tom Baird. He cowrote Does Your Mama Know About Me with Tommy Chong. However, Satisfaction Is Guaranteed was recorded, but never mixed. Since then, it has lain in the Motown vaults…until now. Belatedly, Satisfaction Is Guaranteed makes a welcome debut on Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969. 

Johnny Bristol enjoyed a long and successful career as a singer, songwriter and producer. His career began in 1959. For the next four years, he worked with Harvey Fuqua. When Harvey moved to Motown, so did Johnny. He worked as a staff songwriter, penned a number of hits. However, Johnny wanted to forge a career as a singer. He recorded six tracks for Motown between 1963 and 1964. This included Tell Me How To Forget A True Love. None of the tracks were ever released. Considering the quality of the irresistible Tell Me How To Forget A True Love, that’s a great shame. Who knows what heights Johnny might have reached with the Motown machine behind him?

Before signing to Atlantic Records, and hooking up with Thom Bell, The Spinners were signed to Motown. They’d enjoyed two hits in 1965 and 1966. They only released just one album on Motown, The Original Spinners in 1967. It failed commercially. A year later, in February 1968, The Spinners recorded Hold On To Me (A Little Longer). A beautiful, needy slice of soul, it’s the perfect showcase for The Spinners’ harmonies. Despite oozing quality and soulfulness,  Hold On To Me (A Little Longer) was never released. Three years later, in 1971, with Thom Bell’s help, The Spinners’ career was transformed and they would become one of the biggest soul groups. 

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were one of Motown’s most successful groups. In 1966, Smokey Robinson and The Miracle were recording their 1966 album Away We A Go-Go. One of the tracks recorded was Baby You Got The Key, a thoughtful ballad. When Away We A Go-Go was released, Baby You Got The Key had missed the cut. Since then, it’s lain unreleased. That’s a great shame, as it’s a real hidden gem from Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.

Frank Wilson’s best known track is the Northern Soul classic Do I Love You (Indeed I Do). It was released in 1965. That year, Frank recorded the ballad Together ‘Til The End Of Time. Penned by Frank, it was produced by Hal Davis and Marc Gordon. Together ‘Til The End Of Time was never released. There was a reason for this. Brenda Holloway had also recorded the track. Motown weren’t going to release two versions of the same track. So a decision had to be made about which version was to be released. Brenda’s version got the nod. Only now, do we get the opportunity to discover the beauty of Frank’s version of Together ‘Til The End Of Time.

It wasn’t until 1968, that The Fantastic Four signed to Motown. There’s a reason it took this long. 1968 was the year Ed Wingate sold his Ric Tic label to Motown. After signing to Motown, The Fantastic Four were prolific. They recorded fifty tracks between 1968 and 1971. One of these tracks was I Wanna Say I Love You, which was recorded back in 1969. Penned by Lawrence Brown, George Gordy and Allen Story, it’s a bluesy, soulful track from The Fantastic Four.

Motown aficionados will remember Frank Gorman. He was a member of The Fidelitones and cowrote Please Mr. Postman for The Marvelettes. As a result, Frank was given a recording contract. His first single was The Day Will Come. After this, Frank was climbing the Motown ladder. He formed a songwriting partnership with Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland. Later, he lost his place in the partnership to Eddie Holland. They wrote I’m Gonna Make It To The Top. Recorded in 1963, this hopeful version of I’m Gonna Make It To The Top was one of Frank’s final recordings for Motown.

From the opening bars of Mojo Hannah, the inimitable voice of Marvin Gaye pours out of the speakers. This track was recorded in 1963, when Marvin’s career was just beginning. He’d enjoyed hits with Stubborn Kind Of Fellow and Hitch-Hike. Mojo Hannah was recorded with a view to releasing it as a single. This never happened. However, Mojo Hannah featured in Marvin’s 1963 album Recorded Live On Stage. The version of Mojo Hannah on Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969, is a reminder of a young Marvin Gaye, as his career unfolded.

It was in 1963, that The Temptations first recorded He Who Picked A Rose. Eddie Kedricks delivered the lead vocal, that day in 1963. The song was never released. Five years later, The Temptations decided to revisit He Who Picked A Rose. In the intervening five years, Tammi Terrell had recorded the song. New lyrics were added and it became I Gotta Find A Way (To Get You Back). This song featured on The Temptations’ 1968 album Cloud Nine. Since then, He Who Picked A Rose has been overlooked. At last, it makes an appearance on Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969.

By 1968, Jr. Walker and The All-Stars had enjoyed eleven consecutive hit singles, since their Motown debut in 1965. Their sound was unmistakable. It was raw R&B full of energy and electricity. This was very different to Motown’s “house” sound. So Johnny Bristol was brought onboard to change Jr. Walker and The All-Stars sound. This began with What Does It Take To Win Your Love? Jr. Walker and The All-Stars rough edges were smoothed away. This continued on My Girl Annie. It was recorded in 1968, but never released until now. However, it was the latest stage in the remaking of Jr. Walker and The All-Stars’ sound.

Originally, The Contours recorded Claudia on 13th December 1961. It featured on their one and only album Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance, which was released in 1962. Claudia was written by Joe Hunter, Clarence Paul and Andre Williams. It was produced by Clarence Paul, who also sang lead. The version of Claudia on  Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969, is an alternate take, which shows the track taking shape.

My final choice from  Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 is The Four Tops’ The Night We Called It A Day. This was a Tom Adair and Matt Dennis composition. It was recorded on 19th April 1963 and produced by William Stevenson and Henry Crosby. Jazz-tinged, soulful and sultry, The Night We Called It A Day is a beautiful way to close Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969.

For either anyone interested in soul music, or Motown, then Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 will be a must have. It’s chock full of rarities. There’s twenty-four tracks on Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969. Twenty tracks make their debut on Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969. This includes contributions from the great and good of Motown’ men.  Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Junior Walker and The All Stars, Johnny Bristol, Edwin Starr, Chuck Jackson and The Fantastic Four. Each of these artists played their part in the rise and rise of Motown.

By 1969, the end of the period that Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 covers, Motown Records, was a musical colossus. Between 1961 and 1969, seventy-nine of the singles released by Motown reached the top ten in the US Billboard 100. It seemed Motown could do no wrong. They were one of the most successful record labels. However, the party was almost over for Motown.

As the seventies dawned, other labels usurped Motown at soul’s top table. Philadelphia International Records, Atlantic Records and Hi Records were home to some of the biggest names in soul. Motown was left with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Diana Ross. While these artists would bring commercial success and critical acclaim Motown’s way, it never reached the same heights during the seventies. As a result, Satisfaction Guaranteed-Motown Guys 1961-1969 is a reminder of Motown Records’ sixties glory days, when seemingly, Motown could do no wrong.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED-MOTOWN GUYS 1961-1969.

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CDTOP-424a

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R-3580260-1358928248-7653

R-1192263-1339990221-6427

R-3385112-1348924110-1380

R-654928-1350695882-9496

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