Various Artists, The Motown Story, Motown MS-726-31, 1970
Even at just about 10 years in, Motown was already mining its past glories to sell even more records than they might have. There had been several versions of the “Chartbusters” series, and the ridiculously early “Greatest Hits” albums that were released in 1966, but this deluxe package was the first time the company went all out to sell history to the masses.
It’s an impressive package. The hits are all here from the first, Money (That’s What I Want), to the newest, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. It’s a little odd, though. The songs are either fused together or introduced by the artists or Narrator Charlie Van Dyke. You don’t buy this package only for the music. The intros are definitely written from the Company’s standpoint, with Mary Wells’ massive contributions downplayed into irrelevance and a whole lot of white washing. You can actually hear the words getting stuck in Mary Wilson’s mouth as she describes Florence Ballard’s retirement.
This appears to be the second or third version of the package. The original has a deluxe booklet and custom inner sleeves for each of the five records. The dos remained the same for as long as this was in production, so collectors need to see the inside of the box to know what they’re getting. For $5, I was happy I got a relatively intact box and clean records.
Cost: $5, $389 Remaining