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The Old, the New & the Best of Mary Wells

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Album Review

Here are most of the songs that made Mary Wells a household name, the darling of America and Motown's first superstar. The calypso beat of "The One Who Really Loves You" sounds as fresh and as infectious as it did when released in 1962. Lavishly produced "You Lost the Sweetest Boy" sparkles, both the Temptations and the Supremes supply backing vocals on the rambunctious Holland, Dozier, Holland song. "Old Love (Lets Try It Again)" made the cut this time, this melodic, sincere mid- tempo number is frequently omitted from Wells' compilations, despite being a charmer; the Love Tones' patented vocals augment Mary on the encouraging number. Her debut, "Bye Bye Baby," displays the rough side of Mary's voice that Smokey Robinson smoothed on his productions. The best example of that, "What Love Has Joined Together," is on board and is as devastating as ever.


Born: May 13, 1943 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Time and legions of other soul superstars have obscured the fact that for a brief moment, Mary Wells was Motown's biggest star. She came to the attention of Berry Gordy as a 17-year-old, hawking a song she'd written for Jackie Wilson; that song, "Bye Bye Baby," became her first Motown hit in 1961. The full-throated approach of that single was quickly toned down in favor of a pop-soul sound. Few other soul singers managed to be as shy and sexy at the same time as Wells (Barbara Lewis is the only other...
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The Old, the New & the Best of Mary Wells, Mary Wells
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