Barbara McNair

The Ultimate Motown Collection

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AllMusic Review by

Barbara McNair is certainly not the only singer to get lost in the shuffle at Motown at the company's mid-'60s zenith, but her tenure there seemed particularly star-crossed -- as this 48-track Ultimate Motown Collection illustrates, much of her finest material was inexplicably withheld from release (in particular the much-bootlegged Northern soul classic "Baby a Go-Go"), while official singles like "My World Is Empty Without You" were issued in the wake of existing hit renditions by other Motown artists. But McNair boasted a genuinely sophisticated, sexy style that was unique in the Motown canon, and her voice -- though by no means a powerhouse -- is nevertheless stronger and more affecting than Diana Ross, whose hand-me-downs she often received. Compiling her full-lengths Here I Am and The Real Barbara McNair, the unreleased Barbara McNair Sings Smokey, non-LP singles, and rare vault material, this two-disc set finally pays McNair the respect she's always deserved -- complete with informative liner notes and excellent sound, it's tough to imagine a better representation of her music.

Track Listing

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blue highlight denotes track pick