Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Four Tops 50th Anniversary Anthology

I wondered why I hadn't always talked about this anthology since the Four Tops Motown hits are a big part of my childhood, but then I realized that this was a 2-CD set and I only kept the first CD since their later years are bogged down with uninteresting drek. But, this first CD is pretty damn stunning and everyone needs these 1960's tunes in their library!

Formed in 1953, this vocal group hit their stride in the 60's, as a leader of Motown's wonderful soul-pop sound. With an incredible string of hits (often written by song writing geniuses Holland-Dozier-Holland) that helped to define the era and that have been covered by innumerable artists, the Four Tops are one of the best known vocal groups of the time and lead singer Levi Stubbs is one of the more recognizable voices.

This first CD is jam-packed with amazing melodies, from their first hit, "Baby I Need Your Loving", through an incomparable list of chart-toppers - "I Can't Help Myself" (a song who's beauty never fails to give me chills), "It's the Same Old Song", "Something About You" (super catchy guitar riff here), "Shake Me, Wake Me", the stellar "Reach out, I'll Be There" and the similar sounding "Standing in the Shadows of Love" (though with hip percussion breaks), the heart-wrenching "Bernadette", their soulful version of the Left Banke's beat-pop classic "Walk Away Renee" and interpretations of "If I Were a Carpenter", "River Deep, Mountain High" and even "McArthur Park".

Of course, there is much more here - lesser hits and some that never charted - and it is all thrilling. The melodies, the harmonies, the call'n'answer and the fabulous songwriting is all stellar here. Worth the price just for this CD!