You could say that In the Beginning is a reissue of a reissue. In 1968, Bell set out to cash in on the popularity of Gladys Knight & the Pips' Motown smashes by assembling Tastiest Hits, a collection of their pre-Motown work. Tastiest Hits went out of print after a few years, but in 1974, Bell reissued the collection as In the Beginning. Although the cover was different, Bell provided the same 11 songs in the same order and kept the liner notes that radio man Enoch Gregory had provided in 1968. In the Beginning was sold as a budget LP; the record went for around $2-3 in 1974, and that wasn't a bad deal because most the selections are excellent. "Every Beat of My Heart," "Operator," "Giving Up," "Lovers Always Forgive," and "Letter Full of Tears" are all essential examples of Gladys Knight & the Pips' pre-Motown period. In fact, their version of Johnny Otis' "Every Beat of My Heart" was their first major hit. And even the songs that fall short of essential are highly appealing. In 1974, In the Beginning was a very affordable and attractive way to get acquainted with the work that Gladys Knight & the Pips did before Berry Gordy came into the picture.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson