@bdp24 Allen Toussaint is another unheralded songwriter that gave us many great songs.
As we all know, as preposterous as the list of undeniably great songs/tracks produced by the Motown label is (preposterous in its combination of quantity and quality) this enterprise didn’t start producing undeniably Great Albums (we could all nitpick some ‘60s exceptions - I know I have mine) until the likes of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder wrested creative control from Berry Gordy to further build on the idea of the Musical Auteur.
While the sound quality is inconsistent (My Marvin Gaye one sounds good, my Jackson 5 one is passable, the others can be less-than-stellar) those 3-disc Motown Anthology sets of their top artists that Motown released in the ‘70s are uniformly superb in not only packaging, but, most gratifying to me, their song selections. Those 3-disc sets provide the listener with the perfect compilation of that particular artist’s songs.
When the vast majority of those ‘60s Motown artists created mountains of world-beating singles, they also predominantly produced albums where filler was prominent after 3-to-4 songs. Nothing abnormal there; that’s how the era was for most artists (we know which artists started making Classic Albums then)
This makes the 3-disc Motown Anthology such a great way to enjoy those artists’ best work in an analogue format. No filler, just some 35-40 of their best songs. They were so good about supplementing the singles with the best non-singles. This, as we know, is not common with many compilations. If one is an Analogue Head, while going and trying to score the best pressings of each artist’s individual albums, filler and all, is one’s prerogative, it is completely sensible to grab one of these 3-disc Anthologies and be set. If the sound quality is good (or good enough) you’re set.
One ‘60s Motown LP that is excellent front-to-back, and is just loaded with Holland-Dozier-Holland-at-their-best is Reach Out by the Four Tops.
From Holland-Dozier-Holland on that LP:
”Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” - one of my all-time faves since I was a little kid
”7 Rooms of Gloom” - THIS one knocked me the eff out the first time I heard it. Wow! I was very pleased when the great Paul Thomas Anderson used it in his excellent 2021 film Licorice Pizza. Paul knows what’s up.
”Bernadette” - no words necessary
“Standing in the Shadows of Love” - ditto
With interesting choices of covers (unsurprisingly, brilliantly executed) of “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke, “Cherish” by Terry Kirkman (The Association hit) and “If I Were a Carpenter” by Tim Hardin, it’s rounded out by a knockout Smokey Robinson song (imagine such a thing) “Wonderful Baby” and then probably the best version of “I’m a Believer” you’ll ever hear (however far that gets ya), one more pretty-good Holland-Dozier-Holland track, “I’ll Turn to Stone,” and an excellent Stevie Wonder/Clarence Paul/Morris Broadnax composition in, “What Else Is There To Do (But Think About You).”
My original vinyl sounds great. That’s one ‘60s LP you can dig top-to-bottom.