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There's a Place for Us: The Unreleased LP + Much More

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Album Review

Motown's endless musical assembly line yielded a number of incomplete or otherwise shelved projects. This is especially true during the label's heyday, when sessions were being held around the clock in the infamous 'Snakepit' studio of Motown's 2648 West Grand Boulevard digs. In the case of There's a Place for Us (1965) for instance, there was also recording going on in other facilities at the same time. The concept behind the unissued long-player was to spotlight Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross in a setting of tunes from the stage and silver screen, coupled with the occasional well-known traditional standard. Producers Hal Davis and Marc Gordon called the shots on the West Coast, while Ivory Joe Hunter, Mickey Stevenson, Ron Miller and Henry Cosby did the same back in Detroit. The Supremes turned on their inimitable charm, creating a collection that would appeal not only to the youth market, but hopefully their older siblings and parents, too. The dozen-song album has something for practically every taste from big, bold and brass-driven workouts such as "Put on a Happy Face" and "Big City Babies Don't Cry" to the bountifully orchestrated "Make Someone Happy," "Something for My Heart" and "Fancy Passes." They delve into the boss sound of the bossa nova on "The Boy From Ipanema," offering a highlighted interpretation that is arguably one of the best ever done. Closer to their soul roots are the arrangements of "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody," as well as a superior reading of "You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You" that will set toes a-tappin' once the sophisticated score kicks in. Additionally, West Side Story's show-stopping ballad "Somewhere" — from whence the package gets its name — also deserves a nod for the inspired three-part vocals. It took nearly 30 years, but A Place for Us was finally issued along with another 14 cuts — most being made available for the first time — on to the limited-edition single-CD compilation There's a Place for Us: The Unreleased LP + Much More (2004) from Hip-O Select. The package is available exclusively at hip-oselect.com and includes a 12-page liner booklet with all manner of detailed discographical minutia, rare photos and a short essay on just exactly where this minor masterpiece has been for the last three decades.

Biography

Formed: 1961 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

The most successful American performers of the 1960s, the Supremes for a time rivaled even the Beatles in terms of red-hot commercial appeal, reeling off five number one singles in a row at one point. Critical revisionism has tended to undervalue the Supremes' accomplishments, categorizing their work as more lightweight than the best soul stars (or even the best Motown stars), and viewing them as a tool for Berry Gordy's crossover aspirations. There's no question that there was about as much pop...
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There's a Place for Us: The Unreleased LP + Much More, The Supremes
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