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Wednesday 4th January 2012

Essential re-releases for the new year are 5 classic Motown albums from Marv Johnson, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, The Miracles, and The Marvelettes.

Hallmark Music are set to release the following on January 16th 2012:

Marvin Gaye – The Soulful Moods Of Marvin Gaye

 Marvin Gaye’s debut album for the Tamla label, released in 1961, contains little of the smooth R&B that was later to become his trademark. Instead, Marvin saw himself moving in the same kind of circles as Nat King Cole – a crooner and interpreter of other’s songs. The success that Ray Charles had by combining soul with jazz further convinced Marvin that that was where his future lay, putting him on an early collision course with Berry Gordy. Perhaps to appease his future brother-in-law, he allowed him virtually an album of standards but put two R&B songs on at the end.


Mary Wells – Bye Bye Baby / I Don’t Want To Take A Chance

One of the earliest albums released by Motown, and yet the sound that was to define and dominate America throughout the 60s is already evident. With instrumentation by the Funk Brothers and backing vocals by The Andantes, Berry Gordy was already setting a template for future Motown releases. The album featured both of Mary’s singles, with Bye Bye Baby, which she herself had written with Jackie Wilson in mind, becoming a radio hit even if it didn’t cross over onto the chart. But Motown and Mary would be back….

The Marvelettes – Please Mr Postman

 It is often forgotten that whilst the Motown legend was made thanks to the chart topping exploits of The Temptations and The Supremes, among others, it was The Marvelettes who scored the label’s first number one hit. Not only that, but the song Please Mr Postman was created by a member of the group, Georgia Dobbins, who would then see the song get polished up into a superb piece of pop/R&B. In order to capitalise on this success, Motown wasted little time in recording an album, although there was no picture of the group to be found anywhere on the cover!

The Miracles – Hi We’re The Miracles

As the title might imply, this was the first album released by The Miracles, the group that would make a major star out of Smokey Robinson. It is also the very first album released on the Tamla label and thus the first released by the Motown company. As chief songwriter for the group (and later for a slew of Motown artists), Smokey penned hit after hit, with Shop Around becoming something of an early signature song for the group. The album also features Motown founder Berry Gordy on production duties; the teaming of Gordy and Robinson was one that helped quickly establish Motown as a musical force to be reckoned with.

Marv Johnson – Marvelous

Tucked away as track six on this album is a historic recording; Come To Me was the first single issued by Berry Gordy’s Tamla label. Lacking national distribution, Berry accepted an invitation from United Artists to handle the distribution, also agreeing to United Artists taking over Marv Johnson’s contract. Berry is still involved in this album, writing many of the songs and handling production with Don Costa. The end result is an R&B album with a hint of MOR, since to pad the album out to 12 tracks, a decision was taken to cover some of popular music’s standards!

More info on all releases at: