Various Artists

Male Groups of the Motorcity

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A handful for former Motown acts -- the Valadiers, the Satintones, the Miracles, the Contours, the Lovetones, the Originals and the Fantastic Four -- were rescued from recording limbo in the '80s by Ian Levine to record these tracks. The results, however, are uneven. The Satintones' new productions with Levine bear no resemblance to their original sound. Two songs, "Perfect Combination" and "Half a Man," sound like the work of a much younger group. Levine does much better with the Miracles' sound -- the reproduction of "Love Machine," while not as riveting as the original, isn't half bad. The Contours' sides, "Ready or Not Here I Come" and "Look at the Stop Sign," will not remind you of the group who recorded dance dittys like "Can You Do It" or "Do You Love Me." The Bobby Taylor and the Vancouver sides work better, as Taylor still has that magnificent, emotional tenor that mesmerized record buyers in the '60s. The Fantastic Four contribute a reworking of "I'll Be Doggone," popularized by Marvin Gaye, as their sole track, but it's a good one. The Lovetones, former backing vocalists for Mary Wells, are also only represented by one side, "Fire Alarm." Levine had a knack for getting a good authentic sound from the Originals; listening to the beautiful ballad, "Love Still Lives in My Heart," you know immediately that it's the "Baby I'm for Real" group. If you're looking for the old Motown sound from these old Motown groups you might be disappointed. But, if you want to hear familiar voices return to the spotlight, this will be a pleasurable experience.

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