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Album Review

Martha Reeves began her affiliation with Motown behind the scenes as an Artist and Repertoire assistant. As legend has it, some background vocalists were needed immediately and Reeves — a local amateur herself — used the opportunity to display not only her formidable talents, but those of her bandmates in the Del-Phis. This double-disc anthology presents a chronological overview of those formerly hidden nuggets with nearly four dozen previously unearthed songs spanning Reeves' and company's entire decade-long studio career. Interestingly, because of the combo's rather sudden kick-start, their earliest selections had been written for other established acts, such as the Supremes' ("Time Changes Things") and Stevie Wonder ("Someday, Someway"). The Vandellas' were supplied the best that Motown had to offer, and while all the artists shared the inimitable instrumental support of the Funk Brothers, more discerning and judicious was the matching of writers and producers to the talent. Perhaps Reeves' background in A&R helped her garner the attention of Holland-Dozier-Holland, whose magic touch can be heard on "All That Glitters Isn't Gold" and "If You Don't Want My Love," while the masterful William "Smokey" Robinson gets credit for providing the thoroughly groovy "That's How Bad" and the dark ballad "You Neglect Me." The team of Mickey Stevenson and Ivory Joe Hunter had a hand with the outstanding "Missing Lover," "I Got It Bad," [note: why weren't these crossover pop smashes?!] "I Can't Understand It," "Keep Stepping (Never Look Back)" and "You've Been on My Mind." Of similar value are "I'm So Glad You Belong to Me" — which was a significant side for Edwin Starr and Blinky — and another Holland-Dozier-Holland entry titled "Since You've Been Gone" that was also done to great effect by the Four Tops. Further essentials are the stereo mix of "Earthquake," as well as "Talking 'Bout Love" and "Let Me Fall in Love With You" — a pair of early-'70s Stevie Wonder compositions, the latter co-penned by the one and only Syreeta. The collection's oversized 28-page liner booklet is packed with photos and discographical session information for true Motown-o-philes. Spellbound: Motown Lost & Found (2005) is limited to an edition of 5,000 copies and available online via www.hip-oselect.com.

Lost & Found, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
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