May 16, 2017 E-Lec-Tri-City


The Jackson 5, ABC, Motown MS-709, 1970

It’s no secret that 1970 was the year of The Jackson 5.  Besides The Beatles in 1964, no other artist exploded on the charts with such memorable songs as they did.  This was their second album, and it yielded their second and third #1 singles.  In a real passing of the torch moment, ABC knocked out The Beatles’ Let It Be  from #1, and a few weeks later, The Love You Save replaced The Long And Winding Road.


This is real bubblegum soul music, both insanely catchy and seemingly simple, the songs are actually pretty intricate.  Unlike their first album, which featured songs with much more mature material, this album’s tracks are similar lyrically to the title track.  Reading the lyrics to ABC, you would think it was nothing more than a poem written by a 3rd grader.  It takes real talent write and produce something so light and have it end up as something significant or silly.  This album isn’t silly.


Ok, perhaps the inner sleeve is.  Original period Motown albums all have printed inner sleeves featuring fan club news or new release ads.  Jackson 5 inner sleeves though, took this to an all time high in a kitschy, Tito-Rific way.  It remains unclear how many Soul-Mates Jermaine met or how many Marlon posters people paid $0.25 for, but reading one of these today is pretty great.  Any Motown record is collectible, and double that for a Jackson 5 record.  Because they weren’t usually bought by audiophiles, finding a decent one at a decent price is a challenge.  There’s one less out there now!

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $5, $117 Remaining

January 19, 2017 Very Little Knight Music


Gladys Knight & The Pips, A Little Knight Music, Soul S6-744, 1975

Despite the clever title, the “new” Gladys Knight & The Pips album that hit the stores in the spring of 1975 was anything but new.  The group, tired of the lack of interest the company was showing in their career, left in 1971 for more creative freedom and a better royalties arrangement.  It was a really smart move, with sales doubling and Grammy after Grammy, they were the best selling artists of 1974.


One of the issues many Motown artists had with the company came form the fact that their contracts called for all recording costs to come out of a groups Royalties.  Since it didn’t cost them anything, Motown kept the studios open around the clock and artists would be told to record as many songs as possible, whether or not they had any merit, let alone a chance to be released.  But the time GK&TP left, they had a massive back catalogue of unreleased songs that Motown controlled.  This album was actually the third post departure release the company issued.  One big tip off that these are old recordings are the three cover songs (including a really bizarre version of The Beatles’ Come Together) were all hits in 1969.  A better one is that while Motown controlled the music, they didn’t control the group’s image, and putting out an album in 1975 with the group dressed in the far out fashions of the late 60s would immediately send it to the bargain rack.  So Motown came up with a logo design for the group that makes the Pips look like a minstrel act and “Gladys” look like Diana Ross from Lady Sings The Blues.  I’m sure that went over really well with the real Gladys, perhaps original owner “Bob” didn’t mind…


Unfortunately, while I checked to see the record in the jacket was the one that was supposed to in there, I didn’t pull it out all the way to see the burn/warp mark on it.  It renders the first song on both sides unplayable.  Luckily though, the rest of the album, including the wonderful Pip-centric version of Sugar Sugar, plays fine.

This was the last of the Pips albums to come out on Motown’s Soul label.  Actually, it was the last Soul album to hit the charts.  There were seven more releases, mostly by Jr. Walker & The All Stars, before the label ended in 1978.  So, in that regard, this is a pretty interesting record to find.  I’ll keep looking for a better one.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $472 Remaining