Given the speed and frequency with which the Motown label made recordings during its heyday, the company's vaults are known to be vast. Large amounts of unreleased material have been added to compilations and reissues over the years, while still other collections have been solely devoted to never-before-heard tracks from the label's superstars. Due to European copyright laws that allow unused recordings to enter the public domain, Motown has been releasing digital-only copyright-extension compilations for the past several years beginning with multiple Motown Unreleased 1962: Guys, Girls, Jazz, and Gospel volumes.
Last year's Motown Unreleased: 1966 was the largest single package yet, featuring 80 tracks and nearly four hours of music. Inevitably with each annual release comes the question: "When will these be available on CD?" UMC, a Universal catalogue arm, is coming to the rescue. On December 15, UMC will issue Motown Unreleased: 1966 as a 4-CD box set limited to 1,000 units.
The artists found on this compilation are a veritable who's-who of Motown, including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes and The Supremes. It also features some of Motown's lesser-known acts like The Underdogs, Debbie Dean and Little Lisa. In addition, Motown Unreleased: 1966 has some major artists who were on Motown but found greater success elsewhere like jazz crooner Billy Eckstine, The Isley Brothers and The Spinners. One short-lived band whose members would go on to have great fame were The Mynah Birds, whose line-up in 1966 included Rick James, Bruce Palmer and Neil Young. Due to various complications, the group only recorded a handful of songs for the label which remained unreleased for years. A couple of have seen the light of day in previous years, and now two more are being unveiled officially: "I've Got You (In My Soul)" and "I'll Wait Forever."
The range of material covered on this set is wide, from (of course) Motown hits, standards, Broadway, rock and gospel. There are several alternate and early versions of familiar songs such as The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and several takes of The Four Tops' cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Wives and Lovers," each with a different lead vocalist. Other cover versions of non-Motown pop and rock songs include The Supremes covering The Beatles' "Michelle." There are new duets to discover as well such as between Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, and Gladys Knight and The Spinners. The set had enough material from Brenda Holloway to form a complete unreleased album; Cherry Red's SoulMusic imprint collected her sides from this set as part of Holloway anthology Spellbound: Rare and Unreleased Motown Gems. The set is ordered chronologically by recording and/or completion date with all of the gospel songs grouped at the end.
Motown Unreleased: 1966 is strictly limited to 1,000 units and includes a new booklet with annotation. Should this sell out, perhaps UMC will dig back in the vaults to bring past - and future - volumes of this indispensable rarities series to CD. The 4-CD box is currently available for order through Universal's own webstore, UDiscoverMusic.com, with a release date of December 15. The track listing and pre-order links can be found below!
Various Artists, Motown Unreleased: 1966 (Motown Records/UMe, 2017)
- The Soulful Shack (Alternate Version) - The Miracles
- Ain't Too Proud To Beg (Alternate Version) - The Temptations
- Suddenly I Was Alone - Marvin Gaye
- The Shadow Of Your Smile - Billy Eckstine
- I Got You (In My Soul) - The Mynah Birds
- I'll Wait Forever - The Mynah Birds
- Road Burner (Son Of Road Runner) - Junior Walker & The All-Stars
- For Once In My Life - Billy Eckstine
- That'll Be The Day - Marvin Gaye , Kim Weston
- Don't Mess With Bill - Earl Van Dyke
- Flower Girl (Alternate Version) - The Miracles
- Can't You Hear Me Knocking - Brenda Holloway
- Whenever You Need Me - Brenda Holloway
- Just Too Much To Hope For - Marvin Gaye , Kim Weston
- Stand By Me (Live At The 20 Grand, Detroit/1966) - Earl Van Dyke
- A Taste Of Honey - The Four Tops
- Wives And Lovers (Lead Vocal By Obie Benson / Take 1) - The Four Tops
- Wives And Lovers (Lead Vocal By Levi Stubbs / Take 3) - The Four Tops
- Wives And Lovers (Lead Vocal By Lawrence Payton / Take 4) - The Four Tops
- The Lonely Heart And Lonely Eyes Of Lonely Me - Brenda Holloway
- Give A Little Love - Marvin Gaye , Kim Weston
- What Good Am I Without You - Brenda Holloway
- Pucker Up Buttercup (Alternate Version) - Junior Walker & The All-Stars
- Monkey Talk - Earl Van Dyke
- A World Without You - Barbara McNair
- I Still Get Butterflies - Brenda Holloway
- In My Heart I Know It's Right - Gladys Knight & The Pips
- I'm Losing You - Gladys Knight & The Pips
- All These Things - Gladys Knight, The Spinners
- Hello, Young Lovers - The Four Tops
- I Wish You Love - The Four Tops
- Put On A Happy Face - Barbara McNair
- The Second Time Around - Barbara McNair
- Smile - Barbara McNair
- Day In - Day Out - Barbara McNair
- Nothing But A Fool - Gladys Knight and The Pips
- You're Gone (But Always In My Heart) - Gladys Knight & The Pips
- Never Stop Loving Me - Chris Clark
- Don't Compare Me With Her - Gladys Knight & The Pips
- You've Got Possibilities - Barbara McNair
- Never Trust A Man - Chris Clark
- Sweet Talkin' Guy - The Marvelettes
- I Feel Your Love Growin' On Me - Brenda Holloway
- Without Love You Lose A Good Feelin' - Brenda Holloway
- You Got A Little Of Everything - Brenda Holloway
- Baby I've Got It - Brenda Holloway
- Keep Me - Brenda Holloway
- I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (Alternate Version) - The Miracles
- I Can't Let You Go - The Spinners
- Keep Away - Little Lisa
- Tea House In China Town (Alternate Version) - The Spinners
- I Found Something (Alternate Version) - Marvin Gaye
- Save Me From This Misery (Alternate Version) - The Isley Brothers
- I Still Love You - Chris Clark
- Got To Have You Back (Alternate Version) - The Isley Brothers
- I Can't Take You Back - Gladys Knight & The Pips
- Then - The Temptations
- I'm Giving Up - Brenda Holloway
- Spellbound - Brenda Holloway
- For All We Know (Alternate Version) - The Spinners
- Can't Hold The Feeling Back - Brenda Holloway
- The Impossible Dream - Billy Eckstine
- Dear Miss Lonely Hearts - Marvin Gaye
- Need Your Lovin' (Want You Back) - The Underdogs
- One Of These Days - The Underdogs
- On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever) - The Four Tops
- More (Theme From "Mondo Cane") - The Supreme
- Somewhere - The Supremes
- Michelle - The Supremes
- I'm So Helpless (When I'm With You) - Debbie Dean
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - Marvin Gaye
- Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Kim Weston
- Never Grow Old - Kim Weston
- How Great Thou Art - Kim Weston
- Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Gladys Knight & The Pips
- Where You There - The Supremes
- What Do You Choose - The Supremes
- Steal Away - Marvin Gaye
- Near The Cross - The Miracles
- Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Martha & The Vandellas
Just pre-ordered mine. Decent price at 49.98. Can't believe only 1,000 copies. They won't last long.
Joe Mac Pherson says
Thank You for posting this! I read your entire article, considered the sheer magnitude and variety of the track listings, and my purchase is done! Once again, I own music I wouldn't have known was being released, because of you!
Philip Cohen says
I ordered it too. If Universal releases more "Motown Unreleased" volumes on CD, hopefully, they'll correct whatever mastering problems existed on the download versions, including inaccurately placed track starting points, and (in "Motown Unreleased: Jazz Vol.2") a bizzare silent gap, where it sounds like the engineer (who was mixing down the recording) momentarily stopped the multitrack tape...then started it again.....in the middle of a song.
Philip Houldershaw says
First Universal annoy most of us hard core fans by making this series digital only. (No thankyou) Then finally see sense and put out as a physical release...but only available in the U.S.
Michael Murtagh says
Please be aware that you can place an order for this.
Purchase this product as a guest and *make sure* you exercise the *checkout by paypal* option.
It worked for me, and I am not resident in the US
Robert Lett says
Thanks for posting this, ordered. Are there others in this series? Also, I thought Hip-O had put out all the unreleased Supremes stuff already. At any rate yea looking forward to this.
Joe Marchese says
Hi Robert, this is the only physical version of one of the "Motown Unreleased" titles (so far). Another digital installment will likely arrive later this month, covering 1967. Hopefully the future will bring CD versions of the past sets covering the years back to 1962.
The Supremes' Expanded Edition series is happily still ongoing (the two most recent titles - SUPREMES A' GO-GO and our very own ULTIMATE MERRY CHRISTMAS - were released earlier this year), so I think it's safe to say that there are more unheard Supremes goodies to come! 🙂
Philip Cohen says
The next "Motown Unreleased" download collection (1967) went into limbo because of legal clearance issues surrounding 2 or 3 songs. Since the collection was going to have 92 songs, why couldn't they have released it with 89 or 90 songs. Apparently, December 8th is the deadline to extend Uk/Europe copyright protection on those unreleased tracks, so Universal Music blew it.
Ultimately, The only "copyright extension" releases for this year are two Beach Boys releases from Universal, and they are only being offered as "lossy"(MP3/AAC) audio. There's no way that I'm going to pay good money for less-than-CD audio quality. I'll pass.
Robert Lett says
Just opened 1966, it’s great! If the next one is offered please post. They are limited and would have missed it if not for this site, thanks Joe!
I've complained here before about the download-only releases of the past. I'm glad they are starting to make up for it with this one.
The one I originally complained about was the download-only Supremes Ultimate Merry Christmas release. Thanks to Second Disc for making this physical release a reality!