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Let Yourself Go: The ’70s Albums, Vol. 2 - 1974-1977 The Final Sessions

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Album Review

From a commercial perspective, the era covered on Let Yourself Go: The ‘70s Albums, Vol. 2, Hip-O Select's follow-up to This Is the Story: The ‘70s Albums, Vol. 1, does not represent the Supremes' most successful phase. The group’s ‘60s and early-‘70s albums routinely reached the Top Ten of Billboard’s R&B Albums chart. None of the three albums central to this set — The Supremes (1975), High Energy (1976), and Mary, Scherrie and Susaye (1976) — saw the Top 20. Five 1975-1977 singles charted, with only “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking” likely to be recalled by casual radio listeners. During these years, the Supremes were more popular on dancefloors; three singles peaked in the Top Ten of the disco chart, and some album cuts — the white-hot “Come into My Life” especially — deserved more attention. While none of the three albums is a lost classic, the same can be said for all of them, and they are given a predictably lavish overhaul by Hip-O Select. The package, containing dozens of stunning photos and extensive liner notes, devotes a disc to each album, with over two hours of previously unreleased and rare material divided between the discs. Among the most notable rarities: “Bend a Little” (a would-be disco single so stellar that it must have been shelved due to some form of label politics), the discarded Russ Terrana mix of the High Energy album (which packs a little more rhythmic punch and reverb than the released version), and alternate versions of several songs featuring leads from different members. Naturally, this is aimed at fanatics, who should be overjoyed to have these unfairly disregarded recordings handled with such care.

Customer Reviews

I-tunes goofed on "Album Review" of this collection!

I--tunes goofed on the "Album Review" of this collection. This is actually the last three Supremes lps "The Supremes"(1975), "High Energy"(1976) and "Mary,Scherrie and Susaye"(1976). This collection also includes unreleased songs from those sessions and alternate versions.

Let Yourself Go with The Supremes 70s

In 2006, Hip-O Select/Universal released a beautifully packaged boxed set, THIS IS THE STORY: THE ‘70s ALBUMS, VOL. 1 - 1970-1973, of the post-Diana Ross’ Supremes’ first five studio albums. They now follow it up with LET YOURSELF GO: THE ‘70s ALBUMS, VOL.2: 1974-1977 – THE FINAL SESSIONS which captures the last 3 studio albums recorded by the trio. Whereas THIS IS THE STORY featured Jean Terrell on the majority of the lead vocals, LET YOURSELF GO primarily features Scherrie Payne, with Susaye Green sharing some leads. Just as its predecessor included the previously unreleased PROMISES KEPT album, LET YOURSELF GO features an abundance of bonus tracks and the Russ Terrana mix of, arguably, the best album of this Supremes line-up, HIGH ENERGY. Just like the original group produced fans of individual group members, the aptly named “Supremes ‘70s” has a dedicated group of fans that are sometimes different from the fans of the original Supremes.

In some ways, by the time Scherrie Payne joined the group in 1975, the group was indeed quite different. (She had experienced a degree of modest success on Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Hot Wax label with a group called The Glass House). Where the Jean Terrell led Supremes had a more mature image, Scherrie Payne and Susaye Green gave the group a more youthful look though the ladies were virtually the same age as the original Supremes. (That more youthful look would prove advantageous when Diana invited Scherrie and Lynda Laurence to join in a salute to the legacy of The Supremes music in the “Return To Love” tour). Perhaps that was, in part, due to the disco leanings of their 3 studio albums, THE SUPREMES, HIGH ENERGY and MARY, SCHERRIE & SUSAYE. By 1975, when the self-titled debut featuring Scherrie Payne was released, Billboard instituted its first Dance/Disco charts. That album enjoyed two huge dance hits in the #1 “He’s My Man” and #3 “Where Do I Go From Here”. There was an energy in the vocals that seemed to give the ladies a new lease. Scherrie Payne’s passionate vocals on “Where Do I Go From Here” is an example of how much more energized the group sounded. After the beautiful, but adult, THE SUPREMES PRODUCED AND ARRANGED BY JIMMY WEBB, it helped them find a new audience at the discos. Scherrie Payne was as distinctive a vocalist as Jean Terrell, though neither possessed the charisma of Diana.

Supremes ‘70s fans will be happy to know that the additional songs intended for this release, including “The Sha-La Bandit”, “Bend A Little” and “Can We Love Again”, have all been included. Also included are extended mixes of the dance hits “He’s My Man” and “Where Do I Go From Here” along with alternate versions of “Color My World Blue” and “Give Out, But Don’t Give Up”. Yet, the flipside of how renewed the group sounded would be somewhat betrayed on the Mary Wilson-led nondescript “Mr. Boogie”. But the most thrilling performance on THE SUPREMES remains Scherrie Payne’s supreme vocals on “Where Do I Go From Here”. In some ways that song seemed a tad autobiographical with lyrics “you’ve been the road I’ve traveled on... you taught me everything I know, but I never learned which way to turn... tell me where do I go from here after you sheltered me for so long”. Wilson had already begun complaining that Motown had lost interest in the group. That song seemed to capture the mix of confusion and liberation. Though THE SUPREMES was hardly a monumental album, the songs, production and vocal arrangements proved very listenable. That lineup included Scherrie, Cindy Birdsong and the sexy one.

By 1975, Motown may have seemed preoccupied with solidifying the mega-stardom of their Mount Rushmore of artists in Diana, Stevie, Marvin and Smokey. However, it was wrong to think that Motown had walked away from The Supremes ‘70s. No better example of that would be than the triumphant release of HIGH ENERGY. HIGH ENERGY, and its subsequent bonus material, makes up the second disc. It also introduced new member, Susaye Green. Susaye had pedigree coming from Stevie’s back-up group, Wonderlove. Along with that, she was a formidable songwriter contributing to iconic albums like Stevie’s SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE and Michael Jackson’s OFF THE WALL.

In more than a nostalgic exercise, HIGH ENERGY reunited The Supremes brand with the Holland Bros., Brian and Eddie, as writers and producers. Opening up with the grandiose title track, one of the key differences in The Supremes ‘70s and the original Supremes, was that the producers allowed their tracks to breathe more. (Think of the dramatic instrumental opening of the album version of “Stoned Love”). The title track seemed to herald a new day. Led by the first single “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking”, HIGH ENERGY possessed even more of that renewed vocal energy. Those two songs alone were wildly embraced by the club-going crowd. Side 1 was primarily dance songs. This is not to say that Jean Terrell wasn’t a unique vocalist, indeed she was. However, at times, The Supremes ‘70s in Jean emulated some of Diana’s vocal stylings. Perhaps that is why today, some still think “Up The Ladder To The Roof” is not sung by Jean. “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking” opens up with tribal drum beats and Scherrie Payne scatting towards the heavens. (The album also includes an alternate lead vocal by Susaye Greene. Susaye’s version is just as credible, but there is something about the clarity and forcefulness in Scherrie Payne’s delivery that made it easy to see why that version won out).

Let Yourself Go - THe Final Session

The Supremes were indeed the best trio of lady singers in the 60’s and 70’s. This collection of alternate takes on previous released material is ok when one is busy with a project around the house, gardening or something that keeps you preoccupied. Otherwise it’s not something to listen to track after track of repetition. If you are a true baby boomer you may appreciate the variations. Again otherwise… it’s dated material that may not sooth the discriminate listener.

For those new comers to this session… you may want to listen to sample tracks for their albums “The Supremes 1974”, their “High Energy” album and their “Mary, Scherrie & Susaye” album… where all of those tracks are contained in this collection of rehash.

However I think that a good promoter of the Supremes collection would contain a well diverse collection of their material to truly introduce their unique style as they were truly supreme in female entertainment.

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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