The Supremes – Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland – Motown/ Speakers Corner (Germany) 650 (1967) audiophile 180 gram stereo vinyl ****½:
(Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard – vocals, with backing from Motown studio musicians)
Much of the “Motown Sound,” besides their crack Funk Brothers backing musicians, whose under-appreciated musicianship made the label’s singers’ music snap, crackle and pop, was the use of percussion instruments to bring the inner city and church onto the legendary Detroit hit machine.
Using tambourine, hand clapping, bells, and other inexpensive percussion backing, the vocals gave Motown their signature feel. I have heard numerous Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, etc. albums, but seldom have I experienced the “in-studio” fidelity and intimate sparkle as I experienced when listening to the German audiophile label, Speakers Corner, re-pressing of The Supremes Sing Holland, Dozier, Holland. The brothers Holland and Lamont Dozier had their arrangements front and center on nearly all Motown issues between 1962-1967.
This 1967-issued LP was one of the last albums with the dream arranging team at the helm and later in mid-1967, Florence Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. In my opinion, a bit of the luster of the Supremes was lost with Ballard’s exit and the Holland-Dozier-Holland teams’ departure as the main composers and arrangers for the group.
This tribute to the architects of the Supreme’s success is first rate. It includes major best sellers like “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Love is Like a Heat Wave,” “It’s the Same Old Song” and others, all made popular by label mates like The Four Tops and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Diana Ross’ voice is at its sweetest and the sound stage is crystal clear with the percussion instruments bouncing around the listening room. Diana stops for short interludes talking the lyrics at various times before Mary and Florence and the instruments come back to the forefront.
You will never hear the Supremes sound any better than on audiophile vinyl singing HDH winning compositions. Search this one out…
Side 1: You Keep Me Hanging On, You’re Gone, Love is Here and Now You’re Gone: Mother You, Smother You; I Guess I’ll Always Love You, I’ll Turn to Stone
Side 2: It’s the Same Old Song, Going Down for the Third Time, Love Is In Our Hearts, Remove This Doubt, There’s No Stopping Us Now, Love is Like a Heat Wave
A lesser known jazz pioneer gets a re-mastered vinyl upgrade.