Within a refined setting of easy listening pop ballads and lightly funky up-tempo selections produced by Al McKay, Henderson proves himself an assured vocalist with mastery of clarity and phrasing. The problem here is the material isn't challenging enough – it's often formulaic and derivative of other early-'80s releases. Even a contribution from Stevie Wonder, "Crush on You," wanders into oblivion. But the singer's debonair tone and elegant, polished diction makes the weaker sound stronger. A perfect example is the mid-tempo "I'd Rather Be Gone," which suffers from a sleepy melody and clichéd rhythm arrangement.
The Complete Motown Singles has been a dream project of Motown and soul fanatics for many years, ever since the first decade of Stax/Volt singles was compiled in an impressive nine-disc box set in 1991. The Complete Motown Singles might have seemed like a logical move to soul collectors and fanatics, but it remained in the realm of fantasy for many years because, as enticing as that set was, it was difficult to create.
Looking at the cover, which shows Michael and none of his four brothers, one wouldn’t get the idea that this three-disc set is two-thirds Jackson 5 material. While Michael obviously features prominently in the Jackson 5 songs on The Motown Years, he gets one disc to himself. Altogether, this box collects all the essential J5 and Michael singles and more, including 'ABC', 'Never Can Say Goodbye', 'I Found That Girl', 'I Am Love', 'The Love You Save', 'Ben', 'Rockin’ Robin', and 'I Wanna Be Where You Are'. Released in the U.K., it retails for the price of a single disc and is a convenient way to scoop up a large quantity of high-quality ‘70s pop-soul.
This 18-track compilation includes everything from Kiki Dee's early-'70s Motown album Great Expectations, as well as two additional tracks from her time with the label that surfaced on the rare budget Kiki Dee album in the mid-'70s, along with four previously unreleased 1969-1970 outtakes. While it's good to have this fairly rare material thoughtfully combined into one package, it reinforces the sense that neither Motown nor Dee realized the potential from their unusual association.
This triple-disc anthology complements Keep on Truckin': The Motown Solo Albums, Vol. 1. Included are Eddie Kendricks' mid- to late-'70s long-players Boogie Down!, The Hit Man, He's a Friend, Goin' Up in Smoke, and Slick, as well as seven previously unavailable sides excavated from the Motown vaults.
Motown’s music was crafted with an ear towards pop appeal. The company specialized in a type of soul music it referred to with the trademark "The Motown Sound". The Motown Sound was typified by a number of characteristics: the use of tambourines to accent the back beat, prominent and often melodic electric bass guitar lines, distinctive melodic and chord structures, and a call and response singing style that originated in gospel music. In addition, pop production techniques such as the use of orchestral string sections, charted horn sections, and carefully arranged background vocals were also used. Complex arrangements and elaborate, melismatic vocal riffs were avoided; Motown producers believed steadfastly in the "KISS principle" ("keep it simple, stupid"). This set reflects the top years of the Motown label from the start until 1985. Released before on vinyl in 1985 as 'Motown Chartbusters' and after the MCA takeover in 1988 re-released on CD.