I Hear a Symphony

The Supremes

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I Hear a Symphony Review

by Bruce Eder

I Hear a Symphony has some great soul numbers on it, mostly by the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, including not only the title track but also "Any Girl in Love (Knows What I'm Going Through)," "My World Is Empty Without You," and "He's All I Got" -- the latter is one of the greatest album tracks the group ever recorded, with stunning vocals by Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard behind Diana Ross, showing the trio in just about its peak form. Other parts of I Hear a Symphony seem to take its title track almost literally, with the inclusion of the majestic "Unchained Melody" and the Bach-based "A Lover's Concerto"; the latter, in particular, is a Diana Ross tour de force, with very sweetly understated accompaniment by Wilson and Ballard. And elsewhere, Berry Gordy was pushing his vision of the Supremes as a mainstream pop trio, covering "A Stranger in Paradise," "With a Song in My Heart," "Without a Song," and "Wonderful, Wonderful." None of these are bad, but neither are they terribly distinguished -- the group even adds a certain fresh sparkle to "Wonderful, Wonderful," but realistically, people were paying their money for the Holland-Dozier-Holland and Eddie Holland-authored songs, any of which would have made about as fine singles as anything the trio ever put out, and all of which are still a chunk of the best part of the group's legacy.

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