RELEASE DATE: August 26th 2005
CD Edition limited to 5000 non-numbered limitied edition copies.
“One of, if not, the most successful entertainment Rhythm, Blues and Pop package shows in the nation, entitled the "Motor Town Revue" is probably the greatest showcase for the "MOTOWN SOUND." This talent-packed production, which thrills record-breaking audiences wherever it appears, always consists of the current top recording artists in the United States.” – from an original Motortown Revue tour program, reproduced in the box set booklet
Berry Gordy, starting in 1962, decided the best way to market his artists and their songs and, by extension, his labels and company, was to take them on the road. No matter that certain residents of the South might shoot at the bus (they did), or that the schedule was impossible to maintain health or sanity (it wasn’t, but they had fun), or that being on the road meant no hits were being cut back in Detroit (there were enough stockpiled): the Motortown Revue rolled on and on, becoming an annual event for several years, including a now-legendary (though, looking back, sparsely attended) European tour.
Subsequently, there were Motortown Revue albums every year for three years (1963-65), then a final one in 1969. The early ones were raw but drenched in excitement: your then-and-future Motown stars tearing up crowds at New York’s Apollo, Detroit’s Fox and Paris’s Olympia. That excitement shows surpasses even language, as you will discover on disc three of this four-CD set when the MC in Paris announces “Le Tamla-Motown show…avec Earl Van Dyke et sien sextet!” As Van Dyke and company launch into “Too Many Fish In The Sea,” the French crowd goes ballistic. And while Smokey Robinson apologizes to the audience for not being able to speak French, the audience hangs on every word of “Ooo Baby Baby.”
One of the great joys of hearing this set for the first time is how some of the less famous names on the Motown Roster, such as Kim Weston, Blinky, The Originals and Bobby Taylor all get their turn in the spotlight.
Available for the first time on CD (disc 4, from the Fox in 1969, made it to CD for a moment but was quickly deleted), and painstakingly remastered from the original tapes, The Motortown Revue Collection isn’t content with merely being a welcome escapee from the vaults. It’s packaged in a breathtaking oversize book jacket; each disc is housed in a sleeve that’s a mini of the original LP jacket. The awesome booklet, using most of the original artist bios and essays and photographs from the old tour programs, replicates the look and feel of sitting at one of the original Revue shows. And how about this bonus: a repro of an original tour poster us included in the package (our special thanks to ICE magazine publisher Pete Howard for the loan).
The Revue contains all the hits of the day (“Dancing In The Street,” “Mickey’s Monkey,” “Who’s Making Love,” etc.), but it also includes some unexpected gems. Stevie Wonder covering “Moon River.” Martha & The Vandellas’ rendering of “If I Had A Hammer.” Marvin Gaye asking “What Kind Of Fool Am I.” The Motortown Revue Collection is a vivid snapshot of some of the most influential artists in the history of pop music as they made their way to the top.
The only artist who appears on all four volumes of the Revue is Stevie Wonder.