Martha & the Vandellas

Come and Get These Memories/Heatwave

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Martha & the Vandellas' first two LPs from June and September of 1963, respectively, on one CD, from Motown's British division. The contents of this disc show the trio advancing rapidly in the space of barely four months, from a very traditional girl group sound, similar to that of the Shirelles in their early days, into an edgier soul ensemble, with a harder and sharper sound. They're good in either vein, though on the first album their material is more limited -- the Top 30 pop hit of the title track, "There He Is (At My Door)," the soaring "I'll Have To Let Him Go," and the flowing "Give Him Up" are the highlights, though there's nothing here not to enjoy. The 11 tracks off of Heat Wave, which was done in a great hurry to capitalize on the title-track's hit status, are similarly focused in a pop direction, with "More" and "Danke Schoen" included. But they also had as anchors the title-track and a slow, passionate rendition of "Just One Look," as well as a nicely horn-laden "Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home," which make it a more powerful collection overall, and they don't do badly even by covers of "If I Had a Hammer," etc. Their version of the latter wouldn't have caused, say, Sam Cooke (who did it on his Copa live album) much worry about competition, but in a pop-soul vein, it works just fine. This British reissue from the spring of 2002 also includes four bonus tracks, the stereo single mixes of the infectious "Quicksand," "Live Wire," and "Undecided Lover," as well as "My Baby Won't Come Back," the latter a single-only B-side release from September 1962 co-authored by Mickey Stevenson and Martha Reeves herself. The sound fairly glitters, every voice displayed in sharp relief along with the rhythm section, all infinitely preferable to earlier CD editions of either album.

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