Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, R&B
Cramming 25 songs onto a single CD, this set captures the Tops during their peak 1960s years, when they rode the pens of Holland, Dozier, and Holland to the top of the charts. Combining the writers' pop melodies, a gentle ... more »
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Cramming 25 songs onto a single CD, this set captures the Tops during their peak 1960s years, when they rode the pens of Holland, Dozier, and Holland to the top of the charts. Combining the writers' pop melodies, a gentle Motown groove, and Levi Stubbs' earthy lead vocals, the group landed 11 Top 40 singles by 1967, all of which are included on this compilation. Unfortunately, The Ultimate Collection omits later gems such as "Keeper of the Castle," "Ain't No Woman," and "When She Was My Girl," but that leaves room to delve into the unique partnership between the Tops and their songwriting triumvirate. --Marc Greilsamer
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All the great Motown hits but no longer the best collection
Paul Tognetti | Cranston, RI USA | 05/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Ultimate Collection , released by Polygram in 1997, contains all the great Motown hits of the Four Tops. The group, formed in Detroit in 1954 remained together for more than forty years until Lawrence Payton passed away in June 1997. Listen again to see what made the Four Tops a major part of the legendary Motown "Sound of Young America" in the mid 1960's. Enjoy again favorites like "Reach Out, I'll Be There", "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" and of course their signature song "I Can't Help Myself" from the golden year 1965. In addition, sample other big hits like "Standing In The Shadows of Love", and "Bernadette" as well as some of the lesser known chart hits like "7 Rooms of Gloom" and "Something About You". All in all, there are 25 tracks on this disc and a nice 12 page retrospective of the groups incredible career. But the hits began to dry up in the late sixties and the Four Tops departed Motown in 1972.
The group signed on with Dunhill records in 1972 and over the next 8 months had three Top 20 hits including "Keeper of the Castle" and "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)". But although the group would continue to maintain a very strenuous concert schedule, their chart appearances were much more intermittant after that. In 1981, they scored with "When She Was My Girl" from the motion picture "Grease 2". It was their biggest hit in years. Finally in 1988, they recorded their last charted single "Indestructable" which NBC Sports tapped for their 1988 Summer Olympics coverage.
Why am I telling you all of this? If you are a big fan of the Four Tops I suggest you skip this CD altogether and choose the recently released "Four Tops 50th Anniversary" CD now available from Hip-O records. The remastering job is considerably better and for just $2.00 more that 2 CD package gives you not only all the great Motown hits but all of the groups post 1971 hits on the other labels as well. It is really a better value."
Thomas Magnum | NJ, USA | 08/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Levi Stubbs has one of the most powerful voices in music history and it carries this superb compilation of their biggest Motown hits. All the well known songs like "Reach Out, I'll Be There", "I Can't Help Myself", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love", "Baby, I Need Your Loving" & "Bernadette" are here and they sound just as good hearing them for the 1,000th time as they were the first. The album has 25 songs and the pleasure lies in hearing some of the lesser known songs. "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" stands up against any other Tops song and maybe the prettiest they ever done. "7 Rooms Of Gloom" & "Ask The Lonely" are forgotten classics and they do a great version of the Left Banke hit "Walk Away Renee". Obviously when you whittle a large song catalog down to 25, there will be some omissions but if you're a Tops or Motown fan, this is set should be in your collection."
Nearly All The Hits
Laurence Upton | Wilts, UK | 01/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Concentrating on their singles career, this 25 track collection appeared on the Motown label in 1997 when it was licensed to Polygram, and covers the period from their first Motown single, Baby I Need Your Loving, up to 1972 when they first left the label (they were back between 1983 and 1986).
Nearly all the Motown hit singles are present so it is easier to itemise what isn't: their cover of Tim Hardin's If I Were A Carpenter, a bigger hit here than in the US; Do What You Gotta Do, not a single in the US; Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me, not a single in the UK and only a minor hit in the US; Just Seven Numbers, and In These Changing Times, both only minor hits, extracted from the Changing Times album; Walk With Me Talk With Me Darling, not a single in the US; and their two-part version of MacArthur Park, a non-album single that wasn't even released in the UK and which one probably has to buy Anthology to get hold of on CD.
It also includes 4 popular B-sides including their great original version of I Got A Feeling, better known in its cover by Barbara Randolph. Three of these were taken from albums but one, If You Don't Want My Love, was only ever the B-side of You Keep Running Way, perhaps making its debut on CD.
Most of the songs were produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, with whom they had a string of huge hits, but a handful were produced by Mickey Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter, Johnny Bristol and others.
It states in the liner notes that "The Ultimate Collections feature the original 45 rpm versions. Album sources are issued for reference purposes; the LP versions were very often different mixes, and sometimes different performances." What this means in practice is that all but 2 tracks - Still Water (Love) and (It's The Way) Nature Planned It - are mono versions which I suppose means that Motown hope to have us buy the parent albums as well to get the stereo mixes"