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In Japan (Live)

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Album Review

After Florence Ballard, Diana Ross and then Cindy Birdsong left the Supremes, the sole original member of the group was Mary Wilson. In Japan (1973) features Ross' replacement Jean Terrell — sister of boxer Ernie Terrell — alongside Wilson and the most recent addition Lynda Laurence, who took over when Birdsong flew the coop the previous year. The 'new' Supremes lineup didn't last very long as Terrell and Laurence split — replaced by Scherrie Payne and the return of Birdsong several months later. Although unable to unleash the same torrent of hits as the earlier incarnations had done, the Supremes ably re-create some of the sweetest sounds to have emanated from within the Motown family. Their stage show remained polished, including not only soul classics, but familiar popular standards as well. While on tour supporting The Supremes Arranged and Produced by Jimmy Webb (1972), there are no representatives from that platter. The ladies do offer up a "New Hit Medley" with "Automatically Sunshine," "Floy Joy," "Nathan Jones" and "Up the Ladder to the Roof"." Of course there is an oldies congregate linking up "Reflections," "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love" and "My World Is Empty Without You," not to mention the opening pairing of "T.C.B" and "Stop! In the Name of Love." Other worthwhile inclusions are the Stevie Wonder penned "Bad Weather," the light and breezy "Stoned Love" and Mary Wilson's intimate and affective interpretation of "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" joining a suitably samba-like "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars." In 2004, Hip-O Select issued the Supremes In Japan on CD in a limited edition of 5,000 copies. Notably, the disc contains the sole concert recording by this trio.


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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In Japan (Live), The Supremes
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