(5 / 5)
Fabulous 33-track 2-CD set of classic recordings by the legendary – and vastly under-rated – Brenda Holloway, drawn from Motown’s vaults, recorded between 1963 and 1966. “Spellbound” was compiled and produced by Motown expert Paul Nixon, responsible for the successful “Cellarful Of Motown” series.
Undisputedly, one of Motown’s most soulful singers, included here are nine previously unreleased tracks from Ms Holloway, along with rare cuts previously only available digitally.California-born Brenda Holloway became the first West Coast-based artist signed to Motown in 1963; within one year, she had achieved US national success with the timeless classic, “Every Little Bit Hurts”.
Her five further charted singles included “When I’m Gone”, “Just Look What You’ve Done” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”, a song she co-wrote, later recorded by jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears.
Although Motown only issued one LP, Brenda recorded prolifically for the label, with literally dozens of tracks remaining in the Motown vaults until producer Nixon began including tracks on various reissues.
“Spellbound”, features two tracks cut in 1963, 23 tracks from 1964 and eight in 1966; producers included Marc Gordon & Hal Davis, Frank Wilson, Johnny Bristol & Harvey Fuqua, Ivy Jo Hunter, Brian Holland & Lamont Dozier, Norman Whitfield, Mickey Stevenson and William Weatherspoon, with material written by, among others, Sylvia Moy, Billy Page, Jimmy Webb, Janie Bradford and the Lewis Sisters. Sleeve notes here, by UK Motown historian and writer Sharon Davis, include 2017 quotes from Brenda, along with an essay by producer Nixon.
Brenda left Motown at the age of 22 years old after four years, and largely retired from the music business until the 1990s, after her material became popular in the UK with the Northern Soul scene. She is now 71, and still performing. Her last solo album was released in 2003.
In 2005, Alicia Keys covered “Every Little Bit Hurts” for her “Unplugged” special. In 2011, Holloway recorded a duet with Cliff Richard on his “Soulicious” album, but did not perform with Richard on his accompanying concert tour. In 1999, Brenda Holloway was honoured with the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s prestigious Pioneer Award.
Full track listing:
DISC ONE: THE STAR
1. DEEP FREEZE
2. THERE’S SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND
3. TODAY I SING THE BLUES
4. STRANGE THINGS
5. DON’T COMPARE ME WITH HER
6. WHY DON’T YOU TELL THE TRUTH
7. BABY IT IS YOU
8. I DON’T WANT ANYBODY PERFECT
9. JUST LOVING YOU
10. LUCKY MY BOY
11. THE STAR
12. THIS TIME LAST SUMMER
13. YOU GO YOUR WAY AND I’LL GO MINE
14. DON’T STAY AWAY
15. I’M THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
16. I STILL GET BUTTERFLIES
17. CAN’T YOU HEAR ME KNOCKING
DISC TWO: YOU ARE MY CHOSEN ONE
1. CAN’T HOLD THE FEELING BACK *
2. GIRL ON THE RUN *
3. HAVE A LITTLE TALK WITH MYSELF *
4. I FEEL YOUR LOVE GROWIN’ ON ME *
5. I’M GIVING UP
6. I’M SPELLBOUND
7. THE LONELY HEART AND LONELY EYES OF LONELY ME
8. WHAT GOOD AM I WITHOUT YOU
9. IT’S GOING ALL THE WAY TO TRUE TRUE LOVE *
10. WHENEVER YOU NEED ME
11. YOU GOT A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING
12. YOU ARE MY CHOSEN ONE *
13. MY PRECIOUS DREAMS *
14. WITHOUT LOVE YOU LOSE A GOOD FEELIN’
15. WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MYSELF *
16. THE LAND OF MAKE BELIEVE *
* PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’