Underrated Motown songs?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tamla Junkie, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    The folks at Hitsville pumped out hit after hit during the 1960s, altering the face of American popular music, and providing a soulful counter-punch to the influence of four caterwauling Liverpudlians.
    That said, not everything that came from West Grand Boulevard did well in the charts or is remembered today, and much of it for rather good reason (just look up Shimmy Gully by Richard Popcorn Wylie, I dare you). There are a number of real gems that have been more or less ignored though. What are your favorite underrated and obscure Motown songs?

    My personal top five lesser known examples of Motown magic:
    1. I Know How It Feels by the Satintones
    2. Who's The Fool by Singin' Sammy Ward
    3. I'll Love You 'Til I Die by the Pirates (actually the Temptations recording under another name)
    4. Tell Me by the Vows
    5. Misery by Barrett Strong (quickly withdrawn for some reason, but gorgeous just the same)
     
  2. JohnnyQuest

    JohnnyQuest Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise
  3. JohnnyQuest

    JohnnyQuest Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise
  4. Glenpwood

    Glenpwood Forum Resident


    Brenda's finest hour as a vocalist and a song that deserved to have been a huge smash in 1967.
     
  5. Glenpwood

    Glenpwood Forum Resident


    From the period when HDH was turning out so many smashes on The Supremes that they could afford to toss this away as a B side
     
  6. JohnnyQuest

    JohnnyQuest Forum Resident

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    Paradise
    @0:27 "If I can see you, why can't I be with you? Woo!" :love: Man, his vocals gives me the chills.

     
  7. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I'd forgotten about this side from Brenda Holloway. Definitely among her absolute best recordings, though I still think I prefer Every Little Bit Hurts. She was put in the tough position of trying to fill Mary Wells' shoes, but she held her own.
     
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  8. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    Levi Stubbs at his absolute best! :righton:
     
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  9. Glenpwood

    Glenpwood Forum Resident

    Check out the just released digital only "Motown Unreleased 1966" if you haven't yet. There's a whole album's worth of Brenda tracks to hear and several of them are top notch.
     
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  10. JohnnyQuest

    JohnnyQuest Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise
    Levi is one of the most expressive Soul singers to ever lay down vocals. :)
     
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  11. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I was exploring it at work all day. The unreleased material almost makes me wish the QC board didn't exist at Motown. So much stellar material was locked away for reasons that can only be described as truly baffling.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again:
    Mickey Stevenson, H-D-H, and Frank Wilson on their worst days were easily the equals of Lennon-McCartney on their best.
     
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  12. This:

     
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  13. and this:

     
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  14. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I'm not sure where this ultimately fell in the charts, but it was beyond worthy of No. 1! :righton:
     
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  15. Tamla Junkie

    Tamla Junkie Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    This did OK on release (peaked at number nine on the Hot 100, number seven on the R&B charts) but it I can't understand why it didn't at least break the top five.

    My father was a Detroit area DJ for a number of years. When asked which song he thought epitomized the Funk Brothers unsurpassed groovy backing tracks, he spin this and say, "Can YOU sit still while listening to this? I can't...":

     
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  16. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

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  17. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Central VA
  18. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    Here's a few...

    Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers- Does Your Mother Know About Me?
    The Temptations-Cindy
    The Temptations-He Who Picks The Rose
    Gordon Staples-Strung Out
    The Marvelletes-Keep Holding On, Destination Anywhere, The Day You Take One (You've Got To Take The Other)
    The Supremes-Life Beats
    Jimmy Ruffin-If You Let Me
    Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye-Two Can Have a Party
    JR Walker and the Stars-Walk In The Night
     
  19. WillieDaPimp

    WillieDaPimp Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
  20. Holy Joe

    Holy Joe Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    The 60's was before my time, but one song I felt was very underrated was "Ebony Eyes" by Rick James & Smokey Robinson. I know it's not strictly Motown as it's on the Gordy label, but it's on Rick James' "Anthology" compilation which is on Motown. :)
     
  21. Pop Life

    Pop Life Member

    Location:
    ...
    "Love's Gone Bad" by Chris Clark!

     
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  22. bosskeenneat

    bosskeenneat Well-Known Member

    Stevie Wonder's "I Want My Baby Back" and "Contract on Love" from "Uptight", Jr. Walker's "Anyway You Wanta" from "Road Runner", Marvin Gaye's "Need Someone" from "How Sweet It Is", "Whisper You Love Me Boy" from "More Hits By The Supremes", and a lost Kim Weston single, "Looking For The Right Guy". These aren't "filler" by any stretch of imagination.
     
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  23. kreen

    kreen Forum Resident



    the best MJ solo song you've never heard.
     
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  24. dlemaudit

    dlemaudit Forum Resident

    Location:
    France, Paris area
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  25. dlemaudit

    dlemaudit Forum Resident

    Location:
    France, Paris area
    and on his worst day , Smokey was better than Lennon - Mc Cartney
     

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