sábado, 18 de abril de 2009

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas: Black Magic / Natural Resources (2002)

This two-fer remastered reissue of Martha Reeves & the Vandellas’ Natural Resources (1970) & Black Magic (1972) Lps contains some of the most accomplished and mature work the girls ever did with Motown. By the turn of the decade, the music scene had changed and the practice of loosely throwing together a bunch of familiar covers for an album release was considered passé for artistes who wanted to be taken seriously. So, with these two albums, Motown tried to upgrade the group's image a bit by getting them to record more contemporary material. The results were mixed. But vocally, Martha was in peak form; she never sounded better. On gems like ‘I Should Be Proud’, she lets rip with a new confidence, allowing her gorgeous voice to soar and her passionate vibrato to convey emotions that must have registered on the richter scale. The release of Natural Resources went virtually unnoticed, but even with its fair share of fillers, it was memorable for the half dozen songs that genuinely worked and showcased Martha's growing prowess as a vocalist. Aside from the devastating ‘I Should Be Proud’, Martha also experimented with jazz and come up with the goods on Jimmy Webb's ‘Didn't We’ and a searing performance on ‘Love, Guess Who’. Another particular highlight was the raunchy ‘Easily Persuaded’ featuring some of the most impressive and soulful singing Martha ever did. The group went out in style with Black Magic, which like its predecessor, wasn't perfect but delivered some truly good stuff. By 1972, the Jackson 5 was Motown's priority act, so Martha & the girls benefited from the spillover effect. ‘Bless You’, written and produced by The Corporation, was their most catchy number in a long while and a modest sized Top 40 hit for them. Their cover of the Jacksons' ‘I Want You Back’ was also different and interesting. But the piece de resistance was ‘Benjamin’, an emotional ballad which showed off Martha's vocal dexterity to great effect. There was also Ashford & Simpson's ‘Tear It on Down’, which once again distinguished Martha's choices from Diana's when they were picking from the same songbook. Martha always went for the heavier, grittier, though less tuneful stuff. Both albums have been included here, plus three previously unreleased bonus tracks. http://www.amazon.com/

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas sing 'Bless you' on Soul Train, 1971:

3 comentarios:

Nosi dijo...


hooch dijo...

Many thanks indeed!

Saw martha twice at wigan casino many years ago now - Awesome!

Trag dijo...

Wow, there are some really great cuts on this that I didn't know. Thanks for this great share.