Friday, February 11, 2005

The Definitive Motown Story

I've already sent off my order for this. That's
the first of 12 volumes of CDs that, when complete, will form a definitive anthology of every single issued by Motown between 1959 and 1972. What a project! There's a fulsome review in today Guardian by Richard Williams. Here he is on that distinctive sound:
... that driving backbeat, a whipcrack synthesis of snare drum, tambourine and (the secret ingredient completing the magic formula) the downstroke of a plectrum across a set of heavy-gauge strings attached to a Fender Telecaster.
And there is an interesting line about the jazz inflections of the early Motown musicians:
When Marvin Gaye sings the standard ballad The Masquerade Is Over in the style of Nat King Cole, for example, his entrance is preceded by a piano introduction borrowed from Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight, hinting at the jazz orientation of Motown's session musicians.
It only goes to show what I was getting at here.


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