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Rita Wright/Syreeta: The Rita Wright Years: Rare Motown 1967-1970

Track List

>I Can't Give Back the Love I Feel for You
>Ain't I Gonna Win Your Love - (previously unreleased)
>It Don't Mean Nothin' to Me - (previously unreleased)
>Something on My Mind
>Beware of a Stranger
>That's What He Told Me - (previously unreleased)
>I Want to Go Back There Again - (previously unreleased)
>Bad Boy - (previously unreleased)
>Give Back the Good Things
>Hurtin' Me (Became a Habit) - (previously unreleased)
>Can't Stop - (previously unreleased)
>Where Is the Love
>Mind, Body and Soul - (previously unreleased)
>You - (previously unreleased)
>Save the Country - (previously unreleased)
>Since You Came Back - (previously unreleased)
>Can You Feel It, Babe - (previously unreleased)
>Love Child - (previously unreleased)
>Where There's a Will There's a Way - (previously unreleased)
>Love's Gone Bad - (previously unreleased)
>Love My Lovin' Man - (previously unreleased)
>You Made Me Feel Like (Everything Is Alright)
>(Touched) By the Hand of Love - (previously unreleased)
>May His Love Shine Forever - (previously unreleased)

Album Notes

Liner Note Authors: Keith Hughes; Tony Rounce.

Recording information: Hitsville USA Studio, Detroit (1967-1970).

Syreeta Wright had been doing receptionist, secretarial, and demo vocalist work for Motown when she made her recorded debut, as Rita Wright, on her employer's Gordy subsidiary. "I Can't Give Back the Love I Gave You," an aching number written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson with Brian Holland, unfortunately went nowhere -- in a commercial sense -- upon its January 1968 release. It did reach Dusty Springfield, whose version was out in the U.K. by the end of November. Within a couple years, Wright co-wrote the Spinners' "It's a Shame" and gained more attention when she and fellow composer Stevie Wonder wed a few weeks after that smash began its chart ascent. As an artist, Wright remained in the shadows until 1972, when she released her Stevie-produced debut album. From 1967 through 1970, however, she recorded a high stack of shelved, frequently decent, occasionally excellent Motown material compiled here by the Kent label. According to Tony Rounce's liner notes, it includes everything Wright recorded that was mixed by a Motown engineer "at or close to the time of recording." "Love My Lovin' Man" alone was mixed later, in 2016. Only a quarter of the tracks were released previously, heard on the Cellarful of Motown series and Kent's Love and Affection: More Motown Girls, or via reissue on volume eight of The Complete Motown Singles. This shows that a lot of history remained. Take the demo of "Love Child." The day after Wright's vocal was recorded, Diana Ross' performance was overdubbed, and within two weeks, the official version was in shops, on its way to classic status. Most of the other songs have fascinating backgrounds detailed in the notes or track-by-track annotation. In some cases, the Henry Cosby/Sylvia Moy-written belter "(Touched) By the Hand of Love" especially, no illuminating context is required for enjoyment. That particular song easily surpasses "I Can't Give Back the Love I Gave You," which is here, along with its B-side, "Something on My Mind" (another Ashford & Simpson song), later recorded by Diana Ross for her self-titled solo album. Altogether, this completes the puzzle of a discography grown by a talent Motown concealed for too long. ~ Andy Kellman


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