Various Artists

Switched on Blues

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Berry Gordy, Jr. doesn't get the credit he deserves for recording and releasing a diversity of music. Although he recorded country, gospel, blues, and spoken word LPs, he is only known for the popular Motown sound which generated the big bucks. However, Motown recorded some stabbing blues. The late, soulful Singin' Sammy Ward is represented on the gripping "Part Time Love," the pleading "What Makes You Love Him," the jump blues "Someday Pretty Baby" (Stevie Wonder plays harmonica), and the lyrically amusing "Bread Winner." Mabel John, the sister of Little Willie John, shows a lighter side of her blues-based voice, almost pop-blues, on "I Guess There's No Love." Stevie Wonder's "I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It the Blues" was his maiden recording and deserved a better fate; it features his amazing harmonica playing and some mature vocals for a 12-year-old. Amos Milburn contributes "My Daily Prayer," one of many fine cuts he recorded at Motown, yet his fame and name were established by recordings before and after his unsuccessful Motown tenure. The three Gino Parks sides are interesting but owe more to R&B than blues.

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