Universal Music Group / Real Gone Music’s long-awaited posthumous salute to a legendary pioneer we lost last year, “Mary Wilson, The Motown Anthology” is equally exciting both in visual presentation and music content. It will pleasantly surprise many listeners who previously viewed her only as “the sexy one in the middle” of the world’s most successful female singing trio in history: The Supremes.
Mary Wilson was the only woman in history to sing with The Supremes from their early soulful teenage years as The Primettes in Detroit up to their 1977 disco diva farewell performance in London.
From the moment of opening this deluxe 2-CD set and seeing the historic photo of Mary meeting Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney (during their female and male group 1960’s pop chart reign) or the one where she’s camping it up with former Presidential Candidate Nominee Hillary Clinton (posing in that historic “Stop! In The Name Of Love” hand gesture), it soon becomes obvious that the buyer is holding something very “supreme” indeed.
Produced by Andrew Skurow, George Solomon and Joe Marchese, “The Motown Anthology” is a labor of love project with amazing attention to detail, that showcases Mary’s sultry alto voice singing lead on songs that were 1960’s “album cuts” during the group’s immense Grammy-nominated popularity on the pop singles chart.
Most of Mary’s lead vocal recordings during the following decade are included as well. Two of the songs, “Automatically Sunshine” and “Floy Joy” were released as singles and both were Top 10 hits in the U.K. They are from the brilliant “Floy Joy” album, produced in 1972 by Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement award recipient Smokey Robinson. It’s a Motown soul classic featuring the late jazz keyboardist Joe Sample and legendary “Studio A” in-house musicians The Funk Brothers with female backing session singers Louvain Demps, Jackie Hicks and the late Marlene Barrow-Tate (aka) The Andantes. This was one of the final recordings at Detroit’s famous “Hitsville USA” before Berry Gordy, Jr. moved his company to Los Angeles.
The most amazing music on this tribute set are Mary’s previously unreleased four songs she recorded in Europe shortly after leaving The Supremes to record her self-titled 1979 debut solo album. “Save Me”, “Love Talk”, “Green River” and “You Danced My Heart Around The Stars” were all produced by Gus Dudgeon, who was responsible for recording all of Sir Elton’s John’s biggest hits at the point. They are songs that showcase her diverse range and were initially planned to be included on a second solo Motown album which unfortunately never happened.
“Mary Wilson: The Motown Anthology” also features the poignant “Why Can’t We All Get Along,” another rare track released last year as a posthumous single following her unexpected passing on February 8, 2021. There are a total of seven unreleased songs, 33 not on CD, and over half of the songs contain a brand new mix and or alternate vocal.
The 38-page collectors item story booklet that comes with this anthology contains incredible memory lane photos of a trail-blazer whose beauty, grace and style influenced a female generation of all races. Tony Vaughn’s back cover shot of Mary at a recent concert engagement at New York’s Carlyle Hotel is breathtaking.
Many of her closest friends and colleagues share personal memories of a beloved singer, author, activist, entertainer and matriarch who will forever be missed: Mark Bego, Janie Bradford, Fred Bronson, Tommy Chong, Chris Clark, Merry Clayton, Rita Coolidge, Pat Cosby, Carolyn Crawford, Louvain Demps, Jackie DeShannon, Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, Annette Helton, Edward Holland, Brenda Holloway, Betty Kelly, Merald “Bubba” Knight Jr., Darlene Love, LaMonte McLemore, Martha Reeves, Claudette Robinson, RuPaul, Brenda Russell, William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson, Dionne Warwick, Blinky Williams and the last surviving original member of The Temptations: Dr. Otis Williams.
Black Entertainment Historian and Memorabilia Archivist
“Baby Don’t Go” (Alternate Mix) (*)
“The Tears” (Alternate Mix)
“Our Day Will Come” – (Alternate Mix) (*)
“Come and Get These Memories” – (Alternate Mix)
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Frankie Valli cover) – (Live at the Frontier – January 13, 1970) (**)
“Falling In Love With Love” (Live at the Frontier – January 13, 1970) (**)
“Send Him to Me” (**)
“If You Let Me Baby” (**)
“Son of a Preacher Man” (**)
“Witchi Tai To” (**)
“Touch” (Alternate Mix) (*)
“Floy Joy” (Alternate Mix) (*)
“Automatically Sunshine” (Alternate Mix) (*)
“I Keep It Hid” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“Can We Love Again” (Alternate Mix)
“Early Morning Love” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“You Turn Me Around” (Alternate Mix) (*)
“You’re What’s Missing in My Life” (Alternate Version)
“Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“Til the Boat Sails Away” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“I Don’t Want To Lose You” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“We Should Be Closer Together” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“You Are the Heart of Me” (Alternate Vocal and Mix) (***)
“Anytime at All” (early version of “Red Hot”) (**)
“Red Hot” (#)
“I’ve Got What You Need” (#)
“You Make Me Feel So Good” (#)
“(I Love a) Warm Summer Night” (#)
“Pick Up the Pieces” (#)
“You’re the Light That Guides My Way” (#)
“Midnight Dancer” (#)
“Save Me” (#)
“Love Talk” (#)
“Green River” (#)
“You Danced My Heart Around the Stars”
“Why Can’t We All Get Along” (LP Version) (**)
“Red Hot” (Eric Kupper Remix) (#)
(*) previously unreleased mix
(**) previously unreleased track
(***) previously unreleased vocal and mix
(#) previously unreleased on CD