I can’t think of a better way to start off a new year than to listen to music from 40 years ago. 1968 was a banner year for music. The Moody Blues were fooling around with adding a symphony to rock and roll, psychedelia had become mainstream. Pat Paulson was running for President. And Motown was just as caught up in this madness as everyone else. The songs themselves were still fairly conservative musically and lyrically, it’ll be another year before Motown joins the political fringe; and I’m sure that was a backlash to an idiot running as vice-president who swore puff the magic dragon was a song about marijuana. That kind of idiocy drives all creative people nuts. The most risqué song on this set is Love Child. I’m seeing 1968 as the last year of innocence. There’s Gospel music (His Eye Is On The Sparrow by Marvin b/w Just A Closer Walk With Thee by Gladys) and Christmas music (Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer b/w Silent Night by the Temptations) released this year, along with instrumentals by Eivets Rednow that fooled no one because the harmonica work was so distinctive.
In every way possible 1968 was a banner year for Motown. Temptations, Four Tops, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Supremes, Marvin & Tammi, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Night, Martha and The Vandellas, Billy Eckstein, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, Jimmy Ruffin, The Spinners and much more (does anyone remember the poweful soul of Blinky?). Even Shorty Long scored a top 40 single with Here Comes The Judge b/w Sing What You Wanna. Brings back memories of Rowan & Martin + The Smothers Brothers. Edwin Starr was still singing love songs. One of my favorite B-side song titles came out from Smokey: When The Words From Your Heart Get Caught Up In Your Throat. The radio was pleased to entertain us with Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day by Stevie.
This brilliant set contains every single released by Motown in 1968, so we hear every hit and every B side, as well as the ones that coulda made it but were squeezed out by great songs coming out of Stax and many other great labels owned by people, not conglomerates. It takes 7 hours to listen to this set straight through, but trust me – you’ll spend much more than 7 hours with it. So many songs beg for a second listen even as I’m listening. Plus, this set will stay very close to my turntable, along with its brothers and sisters listed below. Rocking soul is a sweet way to breath in any day, and in this case an entire new year.
Motown Complete Singles Vol 8 (1968)
Motown Complete Singles Vol 1
Motown Complete Singles Vol 2
Motown Complete Singles Vol 3
Motown Complete Singles Vol 4
Motown Complete Singles Vol 5
Motown Complete Singles Vol 6
Motown Complete Singles Vol 7
Motown Complete Singles Vol 8