Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Very Best of
Genres: Pop, R&B
Holloway was one of several female Motown artists who never broke through to the top level of stardom, or even of the company's concern. Nevertheless, her Very Best collects many terrific records that often avoid the Detro... more »
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Holloway was one of several female Motown artists who never broke through to the top level of stardom, or even of the company's concern. Nevertheless, her Very Best collects many terrific records that often avoid the Detroit formula: "Every Little Bit Hurts" and other ballads actually bring to mind Jerry Ragovoy's dramatic productions for Howard Tate and Lorraine Ellison, while Holloway's performance on the original "You've Made Me So Very Happy" is one of the label's greatest late-1960s vocals. This CD's 1999 release coincided with a Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award for Holloway; these two events should, with any justice, lead to more recognition for this excellent singer. --Rickey Wright
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Motown's Forgotten Siren Of Song
David Wayne | Santee, CA United States | 05/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Brenda Holloway was a beautiful young singer with a gorgeous voice, who started her recording career at Motown in 1964. She was always (in some ways) linked to other superstar female acts at the label, but she never was able to make the hurdle to super-stardom for herself. This collection has all of her career highlights. It's sad that there weren't more of them. "Every Little Bit Hurts" was a poignant ballad with crystal-clear imagery, written by Ed Cobb. It did very well on the Pop chart (#13), at a time when there was no Billboard Soul chart. It might have been a soul chart-topper. Brenda needed a follow-up hit, and she benefitted from Mary Wells' departure from Motown. Just as The Supremes were given the hits that Holland-Dozier-Holland had lined up for Wells, Brenda was given the Smokey Robinson-penned material. "When I'm Gone" and "Operator" were both already in the can on Mary Wells, but never saw the light of day as recorded by her. Brenda's version of "When I'm Gone" was another major hit (#12 R&B, #25 Pop). Smokey took over the reins of Brenda's career at that point. (Ed Cobb went on to write for another Motown newcomer, Gladys Knight, who even recorded a cover of "Every Little Bit Hurts.") But another hit was not in the offing, despite good material, and a planned second album was not released (the "Every Little Bit Hurts" album did well). Part of Brenda's problem at Motown was that every female at the label who wasn't Diana Ross, was considered to be second-tier (or even third-tier). Another, was being from Los Angeles, while the Motown machine was still in Detroit. Flying in from the coast to record vocals, is different from total involvement in a production. This was shown on her last big hit, the L.A.-recorded and Frank Wilson-produced, "Just Look What You've Done." This record was a sensation upon release, making it to #21 R&B, while inexplicably stalling at #69 Pop. Wilson did a good job of fashioning a Supremes-like sound for Holloway; so good, in fact, that when H-D-H left Motown, Wilson was chosen to be the next producer on The Supremes. (They hit big with his "Stoned Love" and "Up The Ladder To The Roof.") But that left Brenda Hollway, once again, without a producer. Brenda's next single on the Tamla label was her last. It was produced by Berry Gordy, himself, in a relaxed style-- kind of halfway between a pop standard and a soulful torch song. Brenda wrote the song, and would have preferred a more upbeat approach. Her single just reached the top 40 of both the Pop and R&B charts. But a blue-eyed soul group picked up the song and turned up the tempo, making it into a #1 Pop smash. The group was Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the song was "You've Made Me So Very Happy." Many, many covers of the song followed, so while Brenda Holloway saw her recording career come to an end just four years after it started, she also started to see some very healthy royalty checks in her mailbox twice a year!"
Good summation at Motown's most under-rated artist
James E. Bagley | Sanatoga, PA USA | 11/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Upon her signing in early 1964, Brenda Holloway became Motown's first West Coast artist. With Hal Davis producing, she had her biggest hit right off the bat: the dramatic ballad "Every Little Bit Hurts." Its follow-up "I'll Always Love You" is more of the same: a broken hearted Brenda sensually belting it out to the stark accompaniment of acclaimed pianist Lincoln Mayorga. Motown then brought Holloway to Detroit to record with Smokey Robinson, who paired her with musical tracks originally intended for the recently departed Mary Wells. The uptempo "When I'm Gone," "Operator," and "I'll Be Available" are certainly departures from Holloway's initial hits. And while all three records are delightful, it is obvious that she was
encouraged to emulate Wells' less seductive sound and narrow range. Fortunately, she was able to cut loose vocally with producer Frank Wilson on her final hits, "Just Look What You Have Done" and the self-penned "You've Made Me So Very Happy."The aforementioned hits are all found here, along with such noncharting (but fantastic) singles "Hurt A Little Everyday," "You Can Cry On My Shoulder," and "Together Till The End Of Time." What makes this collection better than her previous retrospective, Motown's 1991 Holloway CD Greatest Hits And Rare Classics, is the inclusion of "Every Little Bit Hurts" haunting B-side "Land Of A Thousand Boys" and the debut on CD of "Til Johnny Comes." As evidenced by a great Holloway retrospective released in Belgium a couple of years ago, there is still about a dozen more great Holloway tracks (including the Public Service Announcement song "Be Cool, Stay In School!") which have never been released domestically. Write Motown and demand their release!"
Welcome Motown rarity
Zub | Forks Twp., PA | 08/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With so many repetitive CDs of Motowns big acts in the market, it's a welcome event when one of their lesser known but better talents sees the light of day on CD. Brenda Holloway was perhaps a bit too sophisticated for the Motown formula approach. They just couldn't find the right place for her in their organization and consequently she did not enjoy the success of many of the other acts that Motown would build into hit machines. Her work with Smokey Robinson showed her potential but there was just no follow-through. "When I'm Gone" shows how her singing coupled with Robinson's extraordinary lyrics and music could have led to much greater things. "I'll Be Available", another Robinson tune that was relegated to the B-side of the "Operator" follow-up again shows how the Robinson-Holloway pairing was worth developing. This collection gathers up the best of her work for Motown and includes all six of her pop-charted singles. All tracks are the mono versions and the sound quality is reasonably good given the tendency for muddiness in the early Motown recordings. The six-page flopover booklet includes a brief musical history as told by Holloway along with track details. A well-constructed overview of one of Motown's most distinguished yet least recognized talents."