Our collector-oriented series of officially authorised Motown releases continues with this first-time-on-CD reissue of Marv Johnson’s “I’ll Pick A Rose For My Rose” album, as first released on the British Tamla-Motown label in 1969. The first CD there has ever been of this great artist’s Motown recordings, the collection features a further 15 tracks, including five previously unissued rarities from the vaults.
Marv Johnson was there at the birth of Berry Gordy’s fabled Detroit empire with his Tamla single, ‘Come To Me’, in 1959, which Gordy placed with the established United Artists label for national release, using the proceeds of the deal to finance recording sessions. Marv remained at UA until 1964, when he returned to the Motown fold.
Over the next few years he released three tremendous singles on the Gordy imprint – ‘Why Do You Want To Let Me Go’, 'I'll Pick A Rose For My Rose' and the ultra-stompy ‘I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)’ – but found it hard to re-establish himself, at least in the USA.
It was a different story here in the Motown-hungry UK, where ‘I’ll Pick A Rose For My Rose’ reached the Top 10 early in 1969. To satisfy demand, US Motown dug into what they had in the can on Marv and sent over enough tracks to create a similarly titled LP for the British market. The album was never issued in the USA. The first 11 tracks on this CD represent that long-player in its entirety, mastered from the original stereo tapes used by EMI to manufacture the album in 1969.
The next nine tracks are presented in recording date order. They include the four numbers that have surfaced on multi-artist CD collections in recent years, plus a clutch of exclusive previously unissued masters. Some of these have been circulating on underground bootlegs for a while, but here they are superbly mastered from brand new digital transfers of the precious original tapes. In other words, our CD collects together Marv Johnson's complete Motown recordings from 1964 to 1971.
Motown took particular care when it came to their single mixes, and for the many aficionados out there who prefer them, the final six tracks comprise the original punchy mono mixes of Marv's three Gordy 45s.
Like our recent “The Satintones Sing!” and “Dance With The Contours” CDs (and our Monitors collection, out next month), “I’ll Pick A Rose For My Rose” is compiled and annotated by renowned Mojo award-winning Motown historian Keith Hughes.
By Mick Patrick