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The Supremes (Box Set)

The Supremes

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Album Review

The Supremes were Motown's most popular act, so there was much anticipation for a comprehensive box set, especially since Motown waited many years to assemble one. So, the question is, was the wait worth it? Almost. It's a lavish set, spanning four discs (five, if you include the limited-edition live bonus disc included with the first 25,000 sets), housed in a red-velvet plated book and boasting a 70-page booklet, plus alternate takes, original 45 mixes, and other rarities. The devil is in the details, though. Rarities are substituted for original hit versions; for instance, the original versions of "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" are not here. Then, there are the little omissions, like noting Elvis Costello's cover of "Remove This Doubt" in a list of great Supremes' covers, but not including the original. These curious choices, along with the decision to devote the fourth disc to post-Diana Ross material, makes the set feel a little incomplete, even though it covers a tremendous amount of ground. There are some classic cuts missing, and it's not a good thing that some of those missing items are the single versions of the hits. Still, it's hard not to like The Supremes as a set for hardcore fans, who will thrill to the different mixes and alternate versions, unreleased photos, Top Ten lists, and illustrated discographies. But for the listener looking for one exhaustive set containing all the Supremes they'll ever need, this set falls short of the mark. In fact, for that kind of listener, a good double-disc hits compilation remains a preferable choice over this set. [In 2006, this box was re-released minus the bonus disc of outtakes that was included in the 2000 edition, which is really too bad, since it was the only platter in the box that would hold the attention of the collectors who missed it the first time around.]

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...
Full bio
The Supremes (Box Set), The Supremes
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