Has there ever been a label that housed more genuine, inarguable utter brilliance than the home of 'The Sound of Young America', Berry Gordy's timeless, deathless Motown?
(It's a rhetorical question; in case you were wondering, the answer is a resoundingly obvious no)
Part of the joy of Motown, part of it's wonder is the quality of material that wasn't released, whether that be through recordings given to other artists to rework with other versions released or simply rejected at Gordy's weekly A&R meetings (Meetings? Gordy, Holland/Dozier/Holland, Smokey and Marvin in the same room? That's what you call quality control)
This is a double gift to us; it meant that every Motown release was wondrous and, at this remove - fifty years on, can that be a real figure - allows crate diggers gems to find.
So we have the second volume of 'Motown 7s', 7x7" vinyl singles in a limited edition, individually numbered box lovingly curated by journalist/DJ (and a man who clearly knows his stuff, a man deserving of all our thanks) Richard Searling.
The box is a treasure hunt through the darker, less obvious and largely unreleased corners of Hitsville, whether that be the Isley Brothers 'Sure Is A Whole Lotta Woman'which stomps like Otis with George Harrison guitar riffs and swinging horns, Jimmy Ruffin's caution on the troubles of love 'He Who Picks A Rose', Gladys Knight's uptempo (and how often do you get to hear Gladys break loose?) 'If You Ever Get Your Hands On Love', The Velevelettes sumptuous 'That's A Funny Way' (always trust the act that gave you 'Needle In A Haystack'), the blissful self awareness and regret of Barbara McNair's ''I Know Better' or Stevie's effortless 'I Want My Baby Back' (with a bass so stunning that it can only be the mighty James Jamerson), every one of the 14 tracks covered on these seven little black circles with their authentic push out middles would stand amongst the finest of most artists' recordings. here they stand new. A revelation that just when you think you've heard everything that Motown can offer, there's a little bit of genius waiting to make you fall in love again.