The Supremes

This Is the Story: The '70s Albums, Vol. 1

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The 68 selections on this triple-disc title represent the most comprehensive overview ever to be assembled of the Supremes' early-'70s back catalog. In addition to the studio albums Right On (1970), New Ways But Love Stays (1970), Touch (1971), Supremes Arranged and Produced by Jimmy Webb (1972), and Floy Joy (1973), there are plenty of rarities too. Primarily, a baker's dozen taken from the shelved Promises Kept project circa 1971/1972 and a few one-off songs that appeared on vintage vinyl anthologies. This Is the Story: The '70s Albums, Vol. 1 1970-1973: The Jean Terrell Years (2007) begins once Diana Ross had left the group to pursue a solo career. Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong resumed their international success with Jean Terrell -- sister of heavyweight boxing champ Ernie Terrell -- quickly picking right back up where they had left off with Ross. "Up the Ladder to the Roof" and "Everybody's Got the Right to Love" from Right On became hits and instant classics. New Ways But Love Stays found the first ladies of Motown topping themselves with the follow-up "Stoned Love," which became a number one crossover pop and R&B smash. The album is likewise worth checking out for the covers of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the Beatles' "Come Together," and Steam's anthemic "Na, Na, Hey, Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." Touch supplied the trio with the songbook staple "Nathan Jones," while Floy Joy followed with the title track -- which became the vocalists' last Top 20 single after eight consecutive years.

The remainder of the box set makes its collective digital debut here. Chiefly, the collaborative effort that yielded the album titled Arranged and Produced by Jimmy Webb. Because of its scarcity, there is a certain mystique surrounding it. Webb himself even penned a liner essay specifically for the occasion. By his admission, creating the timeless version of Joni Mitchell's "All I Want" and the golden age of rock & roll oldie "Tossin' and Turnin'" were as exceptional to make as they are to hear. A real find for Motown lovers and collectors are the presentation of tunes completed for the infamous Promises Kept long-player. Finally after years of debate and speculation, listeners are treated to the Supremes' doing -- among other things -- a haunting and mesmerizing reading of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" and Carole King's "It's Too Late." Additional cuts worth mentioning are the gospel-infused "May His Love Shine Forever," that was on the Rock Gospel: The Key to the Kingdom various-artists package. Plus, "Bad Weather" and an overhaul of the O'Jays' "Love Train" -- both from the mid-'70s At Their Best (1978) compilation. Hip-o Select has done an outstanding job of presenting the music in a lavish hardbound book that houses all three discs and 44 pages of liner notes with lots of appropriate eye candy.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:13
2 02:37
3 02:38
4 02:58
5 02:47
6 03:35
7 02:31
8 02:43
9 02:36
10 03:04
11 04:17
12 04:10
13 03:36
14 04:08
15 05:14
16 05:48
17 03:02
18 04:09
19 04:02
20 02:48
21 04:11
22 03:10

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:26
2 03:02
3 02:48
4 03:21
5 03:20
6 02:45
7 04:07
8 03:43
9 03:07
10 03:16
11 03:36
12 02:30
13 03:19
14 02:58
15 03:36
16 02:55
17 03:17
18 02:54
19 03:07
20 02:46
21 03:51
22 04:18
23 04:27
24 03:12
blue highlight denotes track pick