"One of Motown's very greatest singers (although as she was based in Los Angeles and refused to play the record company game, somewhat undervalued), and a classically-trained violinist, Brenda Holloway made some of the most memorable singles on a label famous for its memorable singles.
All of the 9 singles released during her Motown lifetime turn up here (with 6 of their B-sides), including her two best known songs, Every Little Bit Hurts, on which she also plays cello, and You've Made Me So Very Happy, which she co-wrote along with her younger sister singer Patrice, Berry Gordy and Frank Wilson. Both of these are of course sublime and essential to any Motown collection.
The other 3 tracks are made up from Brenda Holloway's album Every Little Bit Hurts, from 1964, and include her soulful version of Unchained Melody. Who knows, perhaps it was hearing this that inspired Phil Spector to revive the song the following year?
Although this collections omit some excellent material, it does score over the earlier The Very Best Of Brenda Holloway by using stereo mixes for 6 of the tracks, though sadly this does not include Every Little Bit Hurts for which an excellent stereo master exists. Some of the mastering is slightly muddy on other tracks. Hurt A Little Every Day is by far the most disgraceful, sounding as if it was mastered from a well-worn stereo acetate, and without any explanation or disclaimer in the notes.
Some of the tracks were produced in Detroit by Smokey Robinson and include versions of the Miracles' Who's Lovin' You and I've Been Good To You. There was an attempt to mould her as the new Mary Wells so versions of her 1962 B-side Operator and When I'm Gone (which Mary Wells had recorded but which Motown did not release until 1966) were made at this time. She does a great job on them but was unhappy with the direction she was being obliged to take and returned to Los Angeles before the sessions were complete.
An expanded retrospective using new mixes from best quality stereo masters and including unreleased material is badly needed, and a 2CD set seems to be in the pipeline, but until then this needs to be on your Motown shelf"
A note about sound quality: " If you thought this was bad .
James E. Anderson | Australia | 11/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous review by Laurence Upton refers to a then forthcoming 2cd set and hoped for better sound quality. Unfortunately the 2005 double cd Brenda Holloway: The Motown Anthology on the Universal Music label doesn't deliver. This Karussell CD sounds like cutting edge hifi in comparison and the emotion conveyed in her voice gives me goosebumps.
Just a few examples: Every Little Bit Hurts on the Universal double is in stereo but with so much sonic information lost the emotion is lost.
James Jamerson's (?) infectious bass guitar on Starting the Hurt All Over Again is almost inaudible on Universal's, the whole thing again sounds flat whereas with the mastering on this Karussell CD I can't help but dance.
Hurt A Little Everyday though poor in sound still gives me tingles - the version on the Universal doesn't, due to the much worse sound. (Because the Universal set has a really nice collection of 48 songs I bought it despite the rotten sound - I play it while driving).
So, if you want to be thrilled by Brenda's vocals and the wonderful musicians backing her, I think this will deliver. "
J. Connell | Sonoma County, CA | 01/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is so soulful. It's a blast from the past for anyone who loved Motown-style girl singers during the 60's and 70's. I had never heard of her before I previewed her on Amazon, so glad I bought it. It's one of my all time favorites."
#-#SWEET & SOUL stirring SONG BIRD#-#
Alex Honda | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was familiar with some of Brenda Holloway's hits before I was familiar with the artist.
Teena Marie did a cover of "Every Little Bit Hurts" and of course the group Blood, Sweat and Tears had a huge hit with their remake of "You've Made Me So Very Happy," so I decided to buy the CD BRENDA HOLLOWAY: GREATEST HITS & RARE CLASSICS; especially after I heard that the Beatles loved Holloway so much that they used her as their opening act at the Shea Stadium concert.
And I'm glad I did. Holloway has such a soulful and raspy singing voice that's so charming and sincere, you forget any imperfections it might have.
Although Holloway was on the Motown label, I understand that there was a struggle over creative direction between Holloway and Berry Gordy, Jr. (founder of Motown)--Holloway being a Los Angeles, CA, native and into the then burgeoning LA rock scene--and so most of the songs have a touch of Motown.
I loved it and agree with other reviewers that Brenda Holloway was short-changed as an artist and would've been a very prominent star, given the right representation.
This CD contains the two above songs as well as a cover version of "Unchained Melody" that Holloway makes her own. There's a good mix of ballads and uptempo songs and has that classic sound of the 60s.
Recommended for 60s music fans, Northern Soul Fans, and of course, Motown fans. "