Various Artists

Baddest Love Jams, Vol. 1

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Often the recycled packagings of Motown hits fail to meet expectations; not so with Baddest Love Jams, Vol. 1, which is all that and then some. All renditions are full versions, not radio edits. "Zoom" by the Commodores is 7:05 of bliss. A full 7:47 "Quiet Storm" spotlights Smokey Robinson's tenor in an apparent cutting contest with the flutist. The Miracles "A Fork In The Road" off their Going To A Go Go LP defines their harmony; the lush ballad also served as the flip to "Tracks Of My Tears," and was a favorite at blue light basement parties. Eddie Kendricks sings "Intimate Friends" in an aching falsetto; Kendricks was famous for booty shakers, so this ballad will deliver a pleasant surprise for first time hearers. One of Ashford & Simpsons' best creations, "Shoe Shoe Shine," by the Dynamics Superiors, along with the lush "I Wanna Be Closer," written by Jermaine Jackson, and performed by Switch, are worth the price alone. You're gonna love "Young Love," by Tina Marie; she sounds like a female Smokey Robinson, phrasing as he would on the firey ballad. There's more sensuous tracks from Rick James, Marvin Gaye, David Ruffin, and others. This CD more than lives up to its boasting title.

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