Martha & The Vandellas, Live!, Gordy 925, 1967
Poor Martha. By the time this record came out it was beyond obvious that all of Motown’s creative forces were going towards furthering the career of a few of their artists. Others, like Martha & The Vandellas got the creative crumbs of material deemed not good enough to become a Supremes record. This was the only Vandellas album release of 1967, and the company couldn’t be bothered to design a new cover for it. It’s the exact same template that was used in 1966 for The Temptations Live! The Vandellas even cover The Temptations version of For Once In My Life.
Martha wrote in her autobiography that her performances in Detroit were always attended by other Motown royalty. Diana Ross wold sit in the front row next to Berry Gordy and come up with “notes” on all that went wrong during the show. So I’m sure the pressure was on to have a good show, especially this night. The Twenty Grand Club was located just a mile away from the Motown studios, so it became a home away from home for the company.
As much as I love the group, it’s not a great album. It’s really interesting to hear Betty Kelly get a solo and banter moments with Martha, but the technical recording isn’t very good. There are better live recordings on youtube of the group, and I highly recommend the awkwardness of Casey Kasem interviewing the group at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles before a Dodger Game. Obviously, as with any Motown album, buy it if you see it at a good price, but it may not be the most listened to record in any collection.
Cost: $5, $426 Remaining