Motortown Hits (SHM 703) - 1970
When you start tracking down the whereabouts of American pop history, you become aware of some important areas devoted to particular categories. There’s the home of country and western music in Nashville; the bayou – influenced rock sounds of San Francisco and the Soul Centres of Memphis and Detroit.
Digging deeper into the origin of the Detroit music, one comes literally face-to-face with a business family. The Michigan city – known universally as Motortown, named after Detroit’s major manufacturing industry – felt the birth of its music in the early sixties. Mary [sic] Johnson and the Miracles came from different major labels and joined the growing roster of Detroit-based artists.
Represented on this album are twelve of the countless hits of Motortown City. Via Stevie Wonder came “For Once In My Life”, “Yester-You, Yester-Me, Yesterday” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours” Diana Ross and The Supremes took “Love Child” and “Someday We'll Be Together” into the charts whilst Jimmy Ruffin made progress with “I’ll Say Forever My Love”. Marvin Gaye was another of the original Detroit artists and on this LP you’ll find two songs he immortalised namely “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, the latter originally an American hit for Gladys Knight. Finally there’s the instrumental “What Does It Take” recorded first by Junior Walker, the Isley Brothers’ oldie “Behind A Painted Smile” and Smokey Robinson And The Miracles’, “I Second That Emotion”.
Although these are not the original recordings this album authentically represents the sound that has made Detroit the important music centre it is today.
Comments: The Sing & Play series had a fore-runner in this LP. Rather than pick one act, Pickwick opted to pay tribute to the Detroit dynasty which was Motown. The album cast its net for a dozen titles which were originally hit singles for a variety of stars from Motown's roster.
On the record label itself, the team were billed as 'various artists', the term 'Top of the Poppers' not having yet been coined. However an 8-track cartridge edition was belatedly issued at the end of 1972, and here the album is credited to 'Top of the Poppers', following the precedent set by the 'Sing & Play' series, introduced during 1971.