Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 14

The Detroit Spinners – Sweet Thing – TMG 514

This May 1965 release saw the UK Tamla Motown debut for the group known simply as The Spinners in the USA, but in order to reduce confusion with the UK folk group of the same name, EMI (Tamla Motown’s UK distributor, re-christened them the Detroit Spinners.

The trademark Motown Sound is present, with the Funk Brothers providing their usual solid instrumental support for another single that should perhaps have been a bigger hit at the time and should be a bit better known now.

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 13

The Hit Pack – Never Say No To Your Baby TMG 513

The Hit Pack’s only release on UK Tamla Motown was this slice of soul written and produced by Staunton and Walker. While this is not to my taste, it has been described, accurately enough, as “not your usual Motown record”.

I confess that it has never really grabbed me in the way that very many of the label’s releases have. This may also be the case for many other people, thus accounting for its rarity, but fairly low price on the second-hand market today.

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 12

Shorty Long – Out To Get You – TMG 512

This rarity on UK Tamla Motown is also a rarity on the original Soul label from the USA. But when you download the ones and zeros you’ll find a track that deserves to be far better known than it is on the Northern Soul circuit.

From it’s opening beats, it sets out its stall as a stomper that stands up against many of its better-known contemporaries. It’s writing credits go to Shorty Long and Mickey Stevenson with the Hitsville studio sound running through the track.

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 11

Kim Weston – I’m Still Loving You TMG 511

The UK Tamla Motown label debut for one Motown’s underrated solo stars was written and produced by Sylvia Moy, William Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter.

The intro is a brief “hello” from the drums, quickly leading into Kim (backed by the Andantes).

This is a record where the voices dominate, pushing the music back into the mix. The drama builds when the 6-note “ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh AHHHHH” then trails off to a nice sweep of strings and horns. Then there is Kim.

I’d love to have been in the studio when Kim was singing and when the Funk Brothers delivered another classic track. Soaring and absolutely enthralling, the music provides an excellent canvass for Kim to create her art. Check out one of the trademarks of a William Stevenson / Ivy Jo Hunter production on the bridge; whereas most producers featured a saxophone solo on the bridge, Stevenson and Hunter usually featured a full-brass section performing a passage. Here on “I’m Still Loving You” there is a very nice two-level horn arrangement. Also note the out-of-the-blue, unexpected key change.

“I’m Still Loving You.” A great, if sadly underrated Motown recording from the always magnificent Kim Weston.

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 10

Marvin Gaye – I’ll Be Doggone – TMG 510

The Tamla Motown debut for the man who was to become one of Motown’s biggest stars was a high quality slab of R&B. Marvin’s great performance was lifted by the presence of the Miracles who provide backing vocals. This was an April 1965 release in the UK, although the song had been recorded the previous year.

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 9

Junior Walker & The All Stars – Shotgun – TMG 509

Despite the commercial failure of its first instrumental release, Earl Van Dyke’s – All for You, EMI persisted with their release schedule and issued this classic saxophone cut on their new Tamla Motown label. A great mod favourite, it’s longevity has made up for its disappointing early sales and, although not as well-known as Junior’s later hit, Roadrunner, it still gets plenty of plays among Motown aficionados.

A Tamla Motown Collection – Part 8

Brenda Holloway – When I’m Gone – TMG 508

The eighth single on the UK Tamla Motown label saw the start of its second month with this April 1965 release. Whilst this make an impression on the US charts, it was another of the early Tamla Motown singles that were pretty well ignored in the UK.

Brenda never had a UK chart hit with any of her recordings, although she toured in the US with the Beatles and performed on the legendary Shea Stadium show. She also toured in the UK and has long been a favourite with the Northern Soul scene.