It’s been a great couple of years for Motown fans, with a steady stream of quality Kent and Ace compilations featuring unissued masters from the company’s golden era. “Satisfaction Guaranteed!” might well be one of the best, particularly for those who favour the male side of the Motown roster.
The collection features just about all of the label’s most eminent male artists. The Temptations, Four Tops, Miracles, Shorty Long, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Ruffin and Jr Walker all appear with sides of such quality that you’ll wonder why they were not issued. Add goodies from pioneer Motown acts the Quails, Gino Parks, Marv Johnson, the Contours and Freddie Gorman, sides from later signings the Fantastic Four, Chuck Jackson, Edwin Starr and Bobby Taylor, a killer from the Spinners, gems from underrated one-shots the Hit Pack, Headliners, Serenaders and Bruce Channel and vocal outings from Ivy Jo Hunter, Frank Wilson and Johnny Bristol – fellows who, during their Motown years, were better known for their writing and production skills – and you have a heck of a compilation.
Highlights? Try Jimmy Ruffin’s early take on the Temptations’ ‘It’s You That I Need’ or the Temptations themselves on an early and quite different version of the oft-recorded ‘He Who Picks A Rose’. Frank Wilson’s essay on ‘Together ‘Til The End Of Time’ shows how closely Brenda Holloway stuck to his script, and Jr Walker’s ‘My Girl Annie’ is as vibrant and exciting as any of his released singles, while his former producer Johnny Bristol has what might be one of the very best of all the hitherto unissued Motown cuts with his groovy ‘How To Forget A True Love’.
In “Satisfaction Guaranteed! Motown Guys 1961-69” compilers Keith Hughes and Mick Patrick have delivered one of the finest packages to date in our Motown series. It’s going to be a tough one to follow – but we’ll try.
By Tony Rounce