Various Artists

Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 9

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Reprising one of the most vital compilation collections of the 1970s, the new era of the Motown Chartbusters series continued with Vol. 9. Picking up where earlier volumes had left off, this installment again showcased some of the greatest hits from the august label's classic roster, its 17 songs offering a swift spin through some magical memories. Diana Ross emerges with the lion's share of songs here, across her own "All of My Life," "Last Time I Saw Him," and "Love Me" as well as the Supremes' hit "Baby Love" and the marvelous duets with Marvin Gaye -- "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" and "You are Everything." Despite the set's penchant for the delightful Ross, however, there is ample balance across the Jackson 5's exuberant "Dancing Machine," Eddie Kendricks' "Boogie Down," and Smokey Robinson's "Just My Soul Responding." The unstoppable Jimmy Ruffin smash "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and the Commodores' funk implosion "Machine Gun" round up two of the label's most memorable monster hits, while Syreeta's "Spinnin' and Spinnin'," chosen over her more obvious minor hits, ensures the set swings in checks and balances from sassy club numbers to some of the label's most aching ballads. With such a plethora of Motown grooves to choose from, it's hard to imagine the precise criteria by which these packages were pulled together. But, whatever the process, these classic cuts still compile beautifully to bring a chunky budget hits package to shelves. Could it be considered flawed by the aficionado? Absolutely. But, in terms of simple listening power, the Motown Chartbusters series certainly has earned its niche, and is nice to have around.

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