A Cellarful of Motown! (Universal UK) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
At the Hitsville USA song factory, it was commonplace to let different singers have a crack at potential chart smashes and then release the best recording of the bunch. The takes deemed inferior, due to Berry Gordy Jr.'s high standard of quality control, were often shelved, and only now, thanks to some vault-digging, are these overlooked artifacts getting their first public airing. In most cases the official versions are indeed superior, but it's definitely a treat to hear what the hard-shouting Contours do with the Marvelettes' Danger, Heartbreak Dead; Gladys Knight's soulful revision of the Supremes' Here Are The Pieces Of My Broken Heart; and Marvin Gaye's spin on the Four Tops' I Wish I Liked You (As Much As I Love You). The track that Motown collectors are most excited about is the stomping Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), featuring a boisterous Chris Clark in place of Frank Wilson. Since a copy of Wilson's version recently sold for more than $35,000, this well-annotated two-disc set should be considered a bargain.