The Jackson 5

Pre-History: The Lost Steeltown Recordings

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It sounds like Steeltown cut these 14 unpolished, pre-Motown Jackson 5 tracks in a garage, but that's the charm of this CD. Remakes of popular R&B songs rule this roost, and a couple originals had potential. Two tracks came out on a 45 credited to Ripples & Waves plus Michael. On "Let Me Carry Your Schoolbooks," shoddy production killed any possibilities it had; the vocals are practically knocked out by the horrible mix. "I Never Had a Girl," the best original ballad, features some serious crooning from Michael, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon. The "Monologue" and "Jam Session, Pt. 1 & 2" capture the youngsters in the studio unaware the tape was rolling. Motown liked the shuffling "You've Changed" so much they redid it and included it on the Jacksons' debut album. You'll enjoy their adolescent remakes of "My Girl," "Tracks of My Tears," "Under the Boardwalk," and "Saturday Night at the Movies."

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