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  1. #1
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    the Supremes and their version of a "Sgt Pepper" album

    these threads on Reflections, Sunshine have been great! so interesting hearing everyone's POV

    in the mid 60s, the Beach Boys [[with Pet Sounds) and the Beatles [[with Sgt Pepper) pretty much revolutionized the album market. yes there had been concept albums before, like the Sups own CW&P and Sing R&H, but these really pushed the idea of a standard studio album being something more than just a few hits and filler.

    Gordy and his crew were typically quite adept at monitoring trends and what was happening. sort of curious they didn't jump on the lp idea more quickly. But if they had and if Diana was still in the group, you know he would have had the Sups lead the way

    so what sort of album should they have done? something around the psychedelic soul? something around LC - maybe a What's Going On but for the girls back in 68?

    would a socially conscientious LC album have worked for the group?

    what about the peace/love/harmony concept that sort of emerged for the new Sups in the 70s?

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    hmmm ...whats an LC album?

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    Love Child - supposedly the original plan for the LC album was to include socially relevant and mature tunes. less light hearted pop songs like He's My Sunny Boy and You've Been So Wonderful

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    ah, ok.
    thanks !

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    As regards the original concept for the “Love Child” album, one can only assume Motown panicked, thinking such an album might not be readily accepted by their fans at large. Far better to include a bit of something for everyone, an ethos Diana would adhere to for most of her career. It’s a real shame, as considering the social upheavals America was experiencing during that time frame, a socially relevant themed album would seem a natural. I also think it would have broadened the groups appeal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    As regards the original concept for the “Love Child” album, one can only assume Motown panicked, thinking such an album might not be readily accepted by their fans at large. Far better to include a bit of something for everyone, an ethos Diana would adhere to for most of her career. It’s a real shame, as considering the social upheavals America was experiencing during that time frame, a socially relevant themed album would seem a natural. I also think it would have broadened the groups appeal
    i agree. your comment actually almost sounds like mary's questioning of the whole SL thing. the company had no issued with a single called Stoned Love but worried about an album of the same name. same - they had no problems issuing a single called Love Child and tackling the issue of unwanted pregnancy but worried about an album containing social relevant music and all?

    i don't think every song had to be morose and depressing. that's the point and the challenge for the producer[[s). i think the concept could have held songs like LC, Evening Train, Does Your Mama, Keep an eye, With a child's heart, what becomes of the broken hearted, can't you see it's me.

    A song like Friendship Train is celebrating peace and brotherhood. someone could have written or they could have covered a tune like this. exciting, positive yet with a message.

    if we ever were to get to a LC EE, it would be interesting to see if there are any other potential tunes that aren't as dark or heavy as LC, Evening Train, Keep an eye.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i agree. your comment actually almost sounds like mary's questioning of the whole SL thing. the company had no issued with a single called Stoned Love but worried about an album of the same name. same - they had no problems issuing a single called Love Child and tackling the issue of unwanted pregnancy but worried about an album containing social relevant music and all?

    i don't think every song had to be morose and depressing. that's the point and the challenge for the producer[[s). i think the concept could have held songs like LC, Evening Train, Does Your Mama, Keep an eye, With a child's heart, what becomes of the broken hearted, can't you see it's me.

    A song like Friendship Train is celebrating peace and brotherhood. someone could have written or they could have covered a tune like this. exciting, positive yet with a message.

    if we ever were to get to a LC EE, it would be interesting to see if there are any other potential tunes that aren't as dark or heavy as LC, Evening Train, Keep an eye.
    Perhaps an alternate version of “You’re Gone[[But Always In My Heart) should have been added to the “L/C” album.

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    lol it's certainly dark and morose enough to have been!

    it could have been the album closer. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    As regards the original concept for the “Love Child” album, one can only assume Motown panicked, thinking such an album might not be readily accepted by their fans at large. Far better to include a bit of something for everyone, an ethos Diana would adhere to for most of her career. It’s a real shame, as considering the social upheavals America was experiencing during that time frame, a socially relevant themed album would seem a natural. I also think it would have broadened the groups appeal
    I don’t believe anyone paid any attention whatsoever as to what kind of albums Supremes were putting out. I don’t believe there was even a conscious effort to do a socially conscious album or singles for that matter. Various producers ran across various songs that they would try to sell to various recording groups and if they came up with that track that made its way to the Supremes they would record it and it would go on the pile. I have no idea who sequenced those albums, but it might have been an octopus grabbing a bunch of tapes and throwing them into the box. I do think they listened to the songs and tried to find things that were presentable, not always succeeding in my opinion, but that’s the amount of effort I think was put into them. And then when you had someone like Frank Wilson was going to do an album on the Supremes in Temptations, he relied basically on covers and just hoped for the best. I think it’s sad that they didn’t have a Norman Whitfield, a Marvin Gaye or a Stevie wonder or someone with actual vision to put together a cohesive album that could stand the test of time instead of 50 years plus later people talking about the incongruity of Motown‘s flagship act putting out lukewarm albums.

    I think part of the problem is that he had the girls on the road so much that they didn’t have time to take care of their health is the lead singer‘s voice or their emotional stability, so why take time off and actually sit down and record an album that might mean some thing? I think Gordy was too interested in the almighty dollar to see past that. He had to fly out to Boston to check out Diana in person before he would cancel the gig at Blinstraubs. She passed out on stage in front of a packed house and that wasn’t enough for him to cancel a show. Instead, he invested in a plane ticket which he would charge to the group, to see for himself because he had a lot invested in their live performances. I have nothing to back this up, but I would bet my unplayed first pressing I hear a Symphony 45 that he made more money on their gigs than they did.

    I don’t really consider country Western and Pop, or Rogers and Hart or Sam Cooke concept albums. Country western Pop is able to at least claim a somewhat cohesive sound, the others are just tribute albums.

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    but that's sort of the question i posed to the forum - the "what if"

    i think your assessment is 100% accurate. Motown was driven by sales and revenue. they weren't interested in making "art" but in selling albums and songs. the general approach they used was frankly completely in line with what the overall industry general did with pop records.

    as for tribute vs concept, i think that's just semantics. creating an album to be a tribute to a genre or a singer IS a concept. the Sups Sing R&H is IMO as strong of a concept/tribute as Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western or Ella Fitzgeralds amazing Songbook series. the fact the girls were all of 22 and creating THEIR version of a tribute to a prolific American composing team is definitely a concept.

    plus there were other ideas explored - Supremes and the Motown Sound Around the World, There's a Place for Us, Broadway/Hollywood, Disney, etc. so it wasn't 100% foreign of an idea that you could create some sort of statement with an album. They'd even done it to some degree with Symphony and A Go Go

    so as other top acts began to approach "studio" albums in this manner, it's interesting Gordy didn't explore it too. especially since he certainly would have know about the amount of sales generated by Sgt Pepper and Pet Sounds. it's not as if those were lost artistic treasures that no one paid attention to until eons later

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    Gordy was a visionary and ambitious beyond comprehension, but he was also a hack. I don’t think the concept of a concept album was something that he could conceive of. I can understand him not trying to compete with the Beatles, but after pet sounds, it would’ve been wonderful if he could’ve been inspired by that at least slightly. I wish they had that “work of art” album or two that people still admire today and talk about and that I could look forward to playing more than I do what we have to choose from. I like the reflections album a lot, I think my main beef with it is that the singles are my least favorite up to that point and I have to ratchet my rating down because of that. Sometime in the last 54 years, I stopped cringing at the last syllable of “balloon” in Up, Up and away.

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    on the "Diana Ross Project" website, the author reviews all of the albums - while she was a Sup, her solo works and the 70s Sups. he gives Sing R&H a 5 out of 5 rating and i completely agree with his assessment. if Lady Gaga or some contemporary artist today completed such a project, it would be showered with awards and accolades. the problem is the overall Supremes catalog has been discounted by the industry and the general public.

    part of this is due to the fact that, in most cases, the singles really are just the most amazing things and 9/10 times they shine more brightly than the rest of the album tracks. yes there are exceptions here and there. so their Greatest Hits albums stand up as truly amazing collections.

    as for the concept albums they did, if you look at them in totality, you see how they were starting out with CW&P. excellent three part harmonies but they're still green. and the production quality is also green. things improve with There's A Place, to some degree. same with the Symphony project - now DMF are firing on all pistons but HDH is still learning how to properly produce symphonic music. All of this reaches its pinnacle with R&H. there's still some degree of group dynamic [[although not as much as on There's a Place and other prior sets), the production is amazing. there's a perfect mix of tunes done traditionally and some re-interpreted with the motown sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    would a socially conscientious LC album have worked for the group?

    what about the peace/love/harmony concept that sort of emerged for the new Sups in the 70s?
    I suggest that a thematic Love Child album [including 'I'm Living In Shame', 'Shadows Of Society', 'The Young Folks' & the title song] would've worked well for Diana Ross & The Supremes. And the 'peace/love/harmony' feel of the The Supremes early '70s work did result in two major hits with "Up The Ladder To The Roof" & "Stoned Love" [not to mention better chart action than the last few studio albums that the group did with Diana Ross].

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    @supfan, don't forget that Gaga has indeed released two such American-Songbook projects with Tony Bennett, and, as you've said, been showered with accolades. Your point definitely stands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    @supfan, don't forget that Gaga has indeed released two such American-Songbook projects with Tony Bennett, and, as you've said, been showered with accolades. Your point definitely stands.
    and i would say they're deserved. i'm just a casual Gaga fan but definitely appreciate her talent and her work to go beyond her immediate genre. her interest in maintaining current awareness of the vast and rich American songbook is commendable

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    I've long thought that a more socio-political version of the Love Child lp coulda/woulda done the trick. That said, lots of us [[including myself!) love the LC lp as it exists, so it's somewhat of a conundrum. Several members have provided their ideas of amended track lists in the past, all of which could have done the job of making the lp more of a 'statement'.

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    I love these threads too! I'd say that Am I Asking Too Much, Will This Be The Day, Can't You See It's Me, If You Should Walk Away, The Beginning of the End of Love, and I'm Livin' In Shame would have all been great additions if Motown wanted to go with a moodier album, but still get the album released by January-ish of '69.

    The only thing I dislike about the Love Child album is how little Mary and Cindy are used. The tracks are all more or less winners, but DMC did record some great songs as a group that went unreleased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    I don’t believe anyone paid any attention whatsoever as to what kind of albums Supremes were putting out. I don’t believe there was even a conscious effort to do a socially conscious album or singles for that matter. Various producers ran across various songs that they would try to sell to various recording groups and if they came up with that track that made its way to the Supremes they would record it and it would go on the pile. I have no idea who sequenced those albums, but it might have been an octopus grabbing a bunch of tapes and throwing them into the box. I do think they listened to the songs and tried to find things that were presentable, not always succeeding in my opinion, but that’s the amount of effort I think was put into them. And then when you had someone like Frank Wilson was going to do an album on the Supremes in Temptations, he relied basically on covers and just hoped for the best. I think it’s sad that they didn’t have a Norman Whitfield, a Marvin Gaye or a Stevie wonder or someone with actual vision to put together a cohesive album that could stand the test of time instead of 50 years plus later people talking about the incongruity of Motown‘s flagship act putting out lukewarm albums.

    I think part of the problem is that he had the girls on the road so much that they didn’t have time to take care of their health is the lead singer‘s voice or their emotional stability, so why take time off and actually sit down and record an album that might mean some thing? I think Gordy was too interested in the almighty dollar to see past that. He had to fly out to Boston to check out Diana in person before he would cancel the gig at Blinstraubs. She passed out on stage in front of a packed house and that wasn’t enough for him to cancel a show. Instead, he invested in a plane ticket which he would charge to the group, to see for himself because he had a lot invested in their live performances. I have nothing to back this up, but I would bet my unplayed first pressing I hear a Symphony 45 that he made more money on their gigs than they did.

    I don’t really consider country Western and Pop, or Rogers and Hart or Sam Cooke concept albums. Country western Pop is able to at least claim a somewhat cohesive sound, the others are just tribute albums.
    This is a really good post. As you point out, the groups touring schedule was so prolific there really was very little time to to sit down and plan a more socially conscious themed album. The odd song such as “Love Child” was about it, then back on the road if you please.
    Marvin’s “What’s Going On” is another prime example of the BG dismissive attitude to more meaningful, socially themed albums. Also his reluctance when the Jackson Five wanted to start writing and producing there own material.
    It makes me wonder his true feelings on those brilliant Whitfield produced albums on the Tempts, or when Stevie insisted on album control.
    I don’t want to cast to many aspersions on those DRATS albums as they have brought me much pleasure over the years. It’s just a shame more effort wasn’t put into song selection at the time.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 05-22-2022 at 01:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    I don’t believe anyone paid any attention whatsoever as to what kind of albums Supremes were putting out. I don’t believe there was even a conscious effort to do a socially conscious album or singles for that matter. Various producers ran across various songs that they would try to sell to various recording groups and if they came up with that track that made its way to the Supremes they would record it and it would go on the pile. I have no idea who sequenced those albums, but it might have been an octopus grabbing a bunch of tapes and throwing them into the box. I do think they listened to the songs and tried to find things that were presentable, not always succeeding in my opinion, but that’s the amount of effort I think was put into them. And then when you had someone like Frank Wilson was going to do an album on the Supremes in Temptations, he relied basically on covers and just hoped for the best. I think it’s sad that they didn’t have a Norman Whitfield, a Marvin Gaye or a Stevie wonder or someone with actual vision to put together a cohesive album that could stand the test of time instead of 50 years plus later people talking about the incongruity of Motown‘s flagship act putting out lukewarm albums.

    I think part of the problem is that he had the girls on the road so much that they didn’t have time to take care of their health is the lead singer‘s voice or their emotional stability, so why take time off and actually sit down and record an album that might mean some thing? I think Gordy was too interested in the almighty dollar to see past that. He had to fly out to Boston to check out Diana in person before he would cancel the gig at Blinstraubs. She passed out on stage in front of a packed house and that wasn’t enough for him to cancel a show. Instead, he invested in a plane ticket which he would charge to the group, to see for himself because he had a lot invested in their live performances. I have nothing to back this up, but I would bet my unplayed first pressing I hear a Symphony 45 that he made more money on their gigs than they did.

    I don’t really consider country Western and Pop, or Rogers and Hart or Sam Cooke concept albums. Country western Pop is able to at least claim a somewhat cohesive sound, the others are just tribute albums.
    I know Gordy is praised for a lot but I do think he needs to be called out on his abusive treatment towards the Supremes, especially Diana and Flo. In secrets of a sparrow, Diana says she saw Gordy trying to keep her warm after a show on a cold night as him protecting her. I saw it as him protecting his money. I do blame him for the Supremes legacy being in the state it is in. The Supremes put Motown on the map. End rant lol

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    This is a really good post. As you point out, the groups touring schedule was so prolific there really was very little time to to sit down and plan a more socially conscious themed album. The odd song such as “Love Child” was about it, then back on the road if you please.
    Marvin’s “What’s Going On” is another prime example of the BG dismissive attitude to more meaningful, socially themed albums. Also his reluctance when the Jackson Five wanted to start writing and producing there own material.
    It makes me wonder his true feelings on those brilliant Whitfield produced albums on the Tempts, or when Stevie insisted on album control.
    I don’t want to cast to many aspersions on those DRATS albums as they have brought me much pleasure over the years. It’s just a shame more effort wasn’t put into song selection at the time.
    but none of the supremes were ever really involved in the development of their recordings. sure by the late 70s, Diana was. and i'm not saying that producers didn't talk with them, get to know them and who/what they are, etc so that they could really find the right material.

    Marvin's WGO album was a self-produced piece of art. I wasn't suggesting that DMC sit down, write and compose songs, produce the tracks, etc. The fact that their touring schedule was so crazy frankly should have little impact on whether or not they did a meaningful concept album. maybe i wasn't clear about WHO would be developing the album material. i think the girls would still have been touring but instead of coming into the studio to record Treat Me Nice John Henry [[which i think is truly inane in nearly every sense Lol) they recorded something else prepared for them

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    but none of the supremes were ever really involved in the development of their recordings. sure by the late 70s, Diana was. and i'm not saying that producers didn't talk with them, get to know them and who/what they are, etc so that they could really find the right material.

    Marvin's WGO album was a self-produced piece of art. I wasn't suggesting that DMC sit down, write and compose songs, produce the tracks, etc. The fact that their touring schedule was so crazy frankly should have little impact on whether or not they did a meaningful concept album. maybe i wasn't clear about WHO would be developing the album material. i think the girls would still have been touring but instead of coming into the studio to record Treat Me Nice John Henry [[which i think is truly inane in nearly every sense Lol) they recorded something else prepared for them
    I really only mentioned Marvin as regards BG’s general attitude to more socially themed albums. IE, he really wasn’t that interested. I guess if you combine certain songs from “Love Child” and “COTC”, the DRATS already have their own such album.
    I disagree about their touring schedule. Keeping the group constantly on the road kept the money flowing, but surely meant less time and thought was available in planning album concepts or indeed the type of song they were hastily recording to compile such albums.

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    I'm still trying to figure out what this lofty SARGENT PEPPER album would've brought to the group, that is being implied as sorely lacking in their charmed story??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out what this lofty SARGENT PEPPER album would've brought to the group, that is being implied as sorely lacking in their charmed story??
    A concept album containing songs a little more thought provoking and socially relevant might of expanded the groups appeal. Not to say I don’t enjoy them, but so many of those albums come across as a bunch of random songs thrown together with very little thought given. That’s my take on it anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    A concept album containing songs a little more thought provoking and socially relevant might of expanded the groups appeal. Not to say I don’t enjoy them, but so many of those albums come across as a bunch of random songs thrown together with very little thought given. That’s my take on it anyway.
    exactly. would it have helped reinvigorate the group in the late 60s, establish a bit more of a serious and substantial artistic reputation.

    clearly motown understood the opportunity that a full lp offered for showcasing a topic - the group had done plenty of concept albums. and with the FG set, Gil even took to bridging songs together with that little snippet of the main theme. helping to tie together the whole experience.

    Berry and team could have done something similar but not adult or MOR oriented. the Beach Boys and Beatles [[and then others) all started to do this in 66 and into 67. so by late 68 there was clearly plenty of examples out there. Berry specifically charged his team in late Aug 68 to find a hit single for DRATS and it needed to be hip, contemporary and without a doubt a #1. they could have then said "and now we want a ultra cool hip accompanying lp that is without a doubt a #1"

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    exactly. would it have helped reinvigorate the group in the late 60s, establish a bit more of a serious and substantial artistic reputation.

    clearly motown understood the opportunity that a full lp offered for showcasing a topic - the group had done plenty of concept albums. and with the FG set, Gil even took to bridging songs together with that little snippet of the main theme. helping to tie together the whole experience.

    Berry and team could have done something similar but not adult or MOR oriented. the Beach Boys and Beatles [[and then others) all started to do this in 66 and into 67. so by late 68 there was clearly plenty of examples out there. Berry specifically charged his team in late Aug 68 to find a hit single for DRATS and it needed to be hip, contemporary and without a doubt a #1. they could have then said "and now we want a ultra cool hip accompanying lp that is without a doubt a #1"
    Although a mix of more socially relevant material and lighter songs, the “Love Child” album still makes for an enjoyable listen. I consider the “Reflections” album the least cohesive of those last three DRATS offerings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Although a mix of more socially relevant material and lighter songs, the “Love Child” album still makes for an enjoyable listen. I consider the “Reflections” album the least cohesive of those last three DRATS offerings.
    i agree the most of the tracks on LC are good tracks. Sunny Boy is idiotic with those stupid lyrics of idaho, corduroy and mohair lol. but all in all it's a good album. I think the sequencing is off though. the first 4 tracks are quite heavy and daunting. then there's a full 180 to pop and sunshine. also i am just not a fan of Does Your mama. it's just not a song i particularly like but it's well done.

    also i think the album art is focusing on the title track and not really representative of the overall content. i do appreciate the more hip and contemporary look as opposed to the standard DRATS regalia.

    maybe this could have worked better as a lineup:

    Love child
    some things you never
    how long has that evening train
    if you should walk away
    Honey bee
    You've been so wonderful

    keep an eye
    you ain't living
    wish i knew
    the beginning of the end of love
    i'll set you free
    can't shake it loose

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i agree the most of the tracks on LC are good tracks. Sunny Boy is idiotic with those stupid lyrics of idaho, corduroy and mohair lol. but all in all it's a good album. I think the sequencing is off though. the first 4 tracks are quite heavy and daunting. then there's a full 180 to pop and sunshine. also i am just not a fan of Does Your mama. it's just not a song i particularly like but it's well done.

    also i think the album art is focusing on the title track and not really representative of the overall content. i do appreciate the more hip and contemporary look as opposed to the standard DRATS regalia.

    maybe this could have worked better as a lineup:

    Love child
    some things you never
    how long has that evening train
    if you should walk away
    Honey bee
    You've been so wonderful

    keep an eye
    you ain't living
    wish i knew
    the beginning of the end of love
    i'll set you free
    can't shake it loose
    A nicely balanced track listing sup. Definitely my favourite DRATS album. I do wonder how long it will be before an expanded “LC” ever sees the light of day.

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