Their first, and still fine 'hits' set
D.V. Lindner | King George, VA, USA | 10/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Consider that a four & a half stars. This hits set first appeared as Tamla LP 253 on February 16, 1966. What's here is excellent, but Motown probably should have put it out a year earlier, because a few of the group's run of singles were omitted: 'My Daddy Knows Best,' 'He's A Good Guy Yes He Is,' and 'I'll Keep Holding On.' A single-disc, 'greatest hits volume 2' never happened for this group. The first chance Marvelettes' fans would have at these missing three (and all that came after this set) on an album would not be until six years after the group had broken up: the 2-LP "Anthology" album released May 15, 1975. That's a long wait.That said, this 'Greatest Hits' was still a fine sampling of the group's career from August 1961 ("Please Mr. Postman") through November 1965 ("Don't Mess With Bill"). The group was also in a transition phase, and now down to a trio from the original quintet, losing Juanita Cowart in 1962, then Georgeanna Tillman Gordon by 1965.In 1964, Smokey Robinson set his attention on the group, and specifically to bring forth group member Wanda Young as a lead singer, who'd already shown great potential on the charming ballad, 'Forever.' (Nepotism may have played a tiny factor - by this point, Wanda was married to Bobby Rogers of Smokey's Miracles.) The first fruit of this collaboration was 'You're My Remedy,' in June 1964. Smokey himself says as far getting a hit on Wanda, 'Remedy' "wasn't that song." He's too hard on himself. I've been buying records since I was six, Smokey, and the summer I was 10, my friends and I found 'Remedy' a fine companion single to the Vandellas 'Dancing In The Street' and The Supremes 'Where Did Our Love Go.' We all bought it.Meaning no slight to the group's other lead singer, Gladys Horton, when Smokey indisputably found Wanda 'that hit,' the Marvelettes also found their sex appeal. For some of us, that girl on the radio warning another to stay away from 'Bill,' was every bit as seductive as Ronnie Spector cooing 'Be My Baby.' And after this album, Smokey would get more of the same fine work from Wanda: 'You're The One,' 'The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game,' 'My Baby Must Be A Magician,' 'Here I Am Baby' and many more b-sides and album cuts.The group only made it to see that day, however, thanks to the talent Gladys Horton applied to the earlier records. Leading the group through the two 'Postman' numbers, 'Playboy,' 'Beechwood 4-5789,' 'As Long As I Know He's Mine,' 'Too Many Fish In The Sea' and others, yielded Motown much steady chart success long before the Supremes, Temptations and Four Tops ever broke through. It was TWO lead singers that kept this group a success for a decade.My rating here applies only to the quality of the music and, maybe, for my fondness for the two vinyl copies of this one I have and cherish. 'Greatest Hits' has certainly been superceded and outdone by the 'Anthology,' 'Ultimate Collection' and the splendid-but-defunct 2-disc set, 'Deliver: The Singles.' For the most bang for your buck, examine all of them and then decide."